With all legal wrangles settled with regard to Kokapet land, the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for information technology (IT) firms is likely to become a reality soon. The information technology and communications (IT&C) department is also keen on taking up the SEZ in Kokapet. Official sources said a high-level review meeting of the IT&C department, to be chaired by chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, would discuss Kokapet IT SEZ issue along with other issues on Friday. The meeting is likely to decide whether fresh allotments should be done for IT companies as some firms had opted out due to court cases or earlier firms should also be given a chance to make payment for the land. The SEZ was conceived by the erstwhile Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (Huda) in 2007 in an extent of 118 acres in Kokapet. The proposed SEZ was considered as an extension of Hi-Tec City and Gachibowli to promote IT/IT-enabled services (ITeS) in the city.
When the authority invited IT firms to set up shop there in 2007, 11 companies, including search engine giant Google, had come forward to take land on lease. Google was allotted 20 acres, Sonata Software Limited 7.04 acres, Intelli Group Asia Pvt Ltd four acres, Patni Computer Systems Pvt Ltd 24 acres, Conexant was given 4.36 acres, C-Bay Systems (India) Pvt Ltd 6.42 acres, Cognizant Technology Solutions 9.05 acres, Infinite Computer Solutions Pvt Ltd 4.85 acres, Tech Mahindra 8.43 acres, Qualcomm 7.34 acres and DQ Entertainment Ltd 2.87 acres. As per the proposal, the land was allotted to them on 20-year lease at Rs 25 lakh per acre lease rent per annum and another Rs 25 lakh per acre was to be collected to provide basic infrastructure like roads, water, electricity and other facilities at the SEZ. A link road from Shankarpally to Vattinagulapally, providing connectivity to the Outer Ring Road (ORR), was also planned. All firms except Qualcomm paid a part of the amount. Since the land got embroiled in litigation over ownership, five firms Patni Computer Systems, Conexant, Tech Mahindra, Qualcomm and Cognizant Technology Solutions opted out from the SEZ.
HMDA officials said some land in the proposed SEZ was free from any legal wrangles and the authority asked the IT firms to take possession of land and start construction of their buildings, but none put up structures. “The court verdict on Kokapet land title came in favour of the HMDA in July 2012. We waited for 90 days as there was a chance for appeal on the verdict and court granting stay. Since the authority got relief in the court and the appeal time was over, the HMDA wants to push the IT SEZ project,” a senior estate officer said.