Bush may announce US consulate in Hyderabad
US Prez might make the announcement when he addresses entrepreneurs from the Indian School of Business.india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 12:53 IST
US President George W Bush may formally announce the opening of a US consulate in Hyderabad when he arrives Friday for a four-and-a-half-hour visit of this city.
Andhra Pradesh authorities have received indications to this effect from American officials.
Bush might make the announcement when he addresses young entrepreneurs and representatives from IT and biotechnology sectors at the Indian School of Business.
The state government has offered to allot 10 acres of land near HITEC City, an IT hub on Hyderabad's outskirts for the consulate building.
Since the US authorities are keen to start the consulate soon, the government has offered to provide an official guesthouse for the time being.
The presence of a large number of IT professionals and students from Andhra Pradesh in the US and its geographical central location is why Washington seeks a consulate here.
The US Congress recently passed a bill for setting up a fourth consulate in India after Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
If the consulate comes up in Hyderabad, it would prove a boon for visa seekers from Andhra Pradesh who now travel to Chennai, New Delhi or Mumbai for visa interviews.
"There is a strong need to have a consulate in Hyderabad as 40 per cent of the visas issued by the Chennai consulate are for people from Andhra Pradesh," said AB Bhushan, a former president of the Indo-American Chambers of Commerce.
A recent survey revealed that 30 per cent of the Indian IT workforce in the US is from this southern state.
In November, David T Hopper, the US consul general in Chennai, had said here that Hyderabad had an edge over Bangalore in the demand for a US consulate.
"It is less convenient for visa aspirants from Hyderabad to travel to Chennai than from Bangalore and hence this city has a strong case," he had said.
Hopper pointed out that of the about 80,000 Indian students pursuing higher education in the US, over 50,000 were from Andhra Pradesh.