By Y.S. RANA ,CHANDIGARH: Bureaucratic red tape has not only tied in knots execution of the Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC) at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), once touted as the pride of Chandigarh, but also cost the UT Administration dear. Worse still, it has thrown a dampener on the hopes and aspirations of young budding business minds who had hoped to offer high-value services.
Inaugurated two years ago, the UT Administration has failied to make the EDC functional despite repeated assurances. The ambitious project is apparently biting the dust in files.
The file for renting out space to selected applicants at the Centre had been sent to the higher authorities for approval a few months ago. The selection of budding entrepreneurs was to be made and the EDC made functional by April, 2010, according to IT Director Yogesh Kumar. But precious little has been done, making the applicants cool their heels, their enthusiasm waning and interest fading.
According to the plan, approximately 20,000 sq. feet of space was to be rented out with plug n play facilities. While young entrepreneurs were to be charged rental of Rs 20 per square feet, Rs 30 per square feet was the charge fixed for small and medium business men. According to rough calculus, the delay in making the Centre functional is causing the UT Administration a recurring loss of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh per month, besides the interest on the amount spent on the construction of the centre.
When contacted, Mr V.K. Singh, Finance Secretary-cum-Education Secretary, UT, said that the administration was seized of the matter to remove some of the glitches that had stalled the progress on the implementation plan of the project. “The Centre would be made functional within a couple of months”, he assured.
The Rs 18 crore-centre comprises ground floor plus three floors with total area of 49,185.78 square feet, excluding the basement area. The Centre was inaugurated by then the UT Administrator, Gen (Retd) S.F. Rodrigues in November, 2009.
Funded through 50:50 cost sharing by the UT Administration and the Central Government, EDC was to provide built-up incubation space to small and medium-sized information technology companies for software creation, research and development and other high value services.
The EDC had been conceived by the Chandigarh Administration with the objective of enhancing export of software from UT to assist young professional in setting up business by providing shell space or space with plug n play facilities.
The higher authorities continued to grapple with departmental problems and the cost of the project escalated from Rs 12 crore to Rs 18 crore as the authorities failed to develop the necessary infrastructure on time.