Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) would set up the country’s first microchip manufacturing, design and research development centre near Kolkata very soon, with an initial investment of Rs. 1,000 crore. The unit would come up on 100 acres of land.
This was announced here by VIL chairman, Venugopal Dhoot after his hour-long talks with Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the Writers’ Buildings on Friday.
“The Chief Minister proposed that we set up the facility in West Bengal and his government was ready to provide whatever was required for the purpose. I could have gone to Hyderabad, but I am not going there,” Dhoot announced in the presence of Bhattacharjee.
However, Dhoot hastened to add, “I’m not scrapping the Andhra government proposal yet.”
Dhoot said he chose Kolkata because it had a large pool of talented software and hardware personnel. Besides, the laboratory of the IIT, Kharagpur and the State government’s proposed ‘India Design Centre’ (IDC) at Salt Lake could be fully tapped for all the necessary assistance in the thin-film transistor microchip-manufacturing project.
Bhattacharjee said Videocon could use the IDC, which would emerge as a ‘fabrication lab’ and would be useful for both hardware and software. It has on its advisory board some of the world’s best names in semi-conductor technology, he added.
Apart from this frontier technology project, VIL would also set up two SEZs at Dabgram in Jalpaiguri and Guptamoni near Kharagpur. While the SEZ at Guptamoni would come up on 2,500 acres, that of Dabgram would comprise 200 acres. Both the SEZs are expected to house IT, biotechnology and food-processing units.
Dhoot claimed that the Central approval for Guptamoni SEZ has already been obtained. The land was earlier selected for the Tata’s small car project, Bhattacharjee said.
He assured that no acquisition of land for Dabgram SEZ would be necessary, as the earmarked land belonging to the housing department would soon be handed over to ‘Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority’’. A leading French company has agreed to be the ‘anchor investor’ in this project that Videocon will be a joint venture partner.
A light engineering goods manufacturing unit would be set up by VIL at a capital cost of Rs. 20 crore nearby the Kanchan factory that was taken over by Videocon from State government. The factory now produces television sets and computers.
VIL has also agreed to take over a sick television-manufacturing unit of WEBEL located at Salt Lake.
VIL has also offered to set up a ‘finishing school’ near Kolkata for training up talented and skilled worker with low education. These workers could be trained in any advanced technology, so that they could come good for any sunrise industry, Dhoot announced.