(Rpting correcting word in 10th para)

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Kolkata, Apr 24 (UNI) Ending a three-year-long wait on land price issue, Software service giant Infosys Technologies Ltd today announced to invest Rs 500 crore for a new multi-utility development centre-cum-SEZ in Kolkata employing about 5,000 people.

''We have planned to invest Rs 500 crore on the proposed centre, one of the largest in the country, having the status of a IT SEZ,'' Infosys CEO and Managing Director S Gopalakrishnan said after signing of an MoU with the West Bengal Government in presence of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Mr Gopalakrishnan said the company had been offered a 90 acre plot at Rajarhat on the eastern fringe of the city and the project work would start at the end of this year.

''The project would be operational one year after the construction starts,'' he said.

The proposed centre-cum-SEZ would house multiple services--from BPO to software development and consultancy. ''It would be a multi service centre,'' the CEO said.

''We have intention to set up a presence in Kolkata. We are impressed with the efforts of the state government in attracting investments. With its bright talent pool, West Bengal is poised to bedcome an important IT destination,'' he said.

IT Minister Debesh Das said, ''The city had become the new hotsopot for IT in the East and we expect to see more of such investments coming into the state and more jobs being generated.'' Mr Gopalakrishnan said this year Infosys had a target of recruiting at least 25,000 employees. Last year, the total recruitment was around 33,000.

''Once the Kolkata centre starts, it will help the local talents,'' he added.

Currently, Infosys rpt Infosys has ten centres across the country with three lakh people on its payroll. Infosys's rpt Infosys's venture remained mired for about three years over allotment of land at a price the company was asking for.

While declining to divulge the cost of the land Wipro was going to get, Mr Gopalakrishnan said the price was 'suitable'.

UNI KDG PP RN1901

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