Aug 29, 2008

Business - City traffic woes forcing companies to move jobs out of Chennai

CHENNAI: A day after top officials of IT major Infosys expressed their concern regarding the traffic situation in and around Chennai, its hometown rival Wipro followed suit. Wipro Technologies' chief information officer Laxman K Badiga, interestingly a member of the Tamil Nadu IT Task Force, told reporters that they might expand faster in tier-II locations like Coimbatore if Chennai's infrastructure issues were not sorted out. Wipro Technologies, the global IT services business of Wipro, has around 12,000 employees in Chennai in six locations. Wipro facilities at the Sholinganallur-Elcot Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Mahindra City SEZ are under various stages of construction and will have a combined capacity of 35,000 seats when complete. But employees at the Elcot SEZ have to contend with traffic bottlenecks during peak hours, especially at the Sholinganallur junction. Wipro vice-president and location head Dr Chandrasekar Dharuman told The Times of India that commuting on the IT Corridor had become difficult during peak hours. Ongoing roadworks in the area contributed to the chaos, he said. Mahindra City, located near Chengalpattu, had its own share of issues, such as insufficient road and railway links as well as traffic jams during rush hour. Most infotech majors including TCS, Wipro, Cognizant and Infosys have rapidly expanded their operations in Chennai over the last few years, adding significant manpower and office space. But now Wipro says it will review its hiring plans in Chennai depending on the traffic and transport situation. The company has 10-12 acres of land in Coimbatore, where it is constructing a 10,000-seat facility. "We may go to Coimbatore instead of hiring to capacity at Mahindra City, if the traffic situation does not improve.

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