BANGALORE: The inaugural ceremony of Karnataka’s showcase IT event Bangalore IT.in 2006 was marred by a few Kannada activists armed with black flags and shouting slogans, “Down with IT and BT.” They marched close to the podium minutes before the opening, taking organizers and the guests including Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, Sir Michael Arthur, the British High Commissioner to India, and state government officials by surprise.
Shortly after, police whisked away the group from the venue. The activists demanded that 90 per cent of jobs in the IT sector be allotted to Kannadigas. “The companies in the IT and BT sector demand land, power, water and infrastructure and in return should employ more Kannadigas,” they said speaking to media following the incident.
Things soon returned to normal and the event got off to a start. Kumaraswamy who inaugurated the summit promised all help to the IT sector in meeting concerns such as up gradation of academic curriculum and infrastructure. “My Government is conscious of the difficulties in commuting that Bangalore citizens face every day. Would telecommuting encourage people to work from home? Would better delivery of public services, efficient traffic management with integration of web-based technology improve the situation? We believe so and this propels us to work towards Bangalore city with wireless broadband access,” said Kumaraswamy.
He also announced the Government’s decision to set up five sector specific cities around Bangalore which would be integrated townships, thereby obviating the need to travel to and fro from Bangalore city. One such city for the IT city would be set up between Bangalore and Mysore in Bidadi, he said.
Sir Arthur in his speech said that India and the UK had formed good business relations in IT over the last few years. “Over 80 Indian companies from Karnataka are now located in the UK forming part of the 500 odd Indian investors in the UK. The UK similarly has a lot of investors in India including 80 of these that are located in Karnataka.”
Debesh Das, minister for IT, Government of West Bengal urged IT companies in Karnataka to consider investing in Kolkata.