Not with standing the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy, the Maharashtra government has attracted an investment of Rs 35,000 crore for the development of data centre parks in Mumbai and Pune. Of the proposed investments, as much as 80 per cent is being proposed in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, with the remaining 20 per cent in Pune. Around 15 companies from the US, the UK, Singapore, Australia, Japan and India, including Amazon, Colt Data Centre, Nxtra Data, Mantra are expected to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the state government by August-end.
Industry sources say Google is also actively considering Maharashtra as a destination for its data centre park.
This is the second set of MoUs after 12 companies from the oil, chemical, auto, electric mobility, and logistics sectors had signed MoUs with the state government of more than Rs 16,000 crore.
An official of the industry department told The Free Press Journal, "At present, submarine cables in India land in Mumbai and Chennai. Mumbai’s capacity to absorb these cables is 75 per cent, with the rest coming to Chennai. Cables from Australia and Singapore come to Chennai, while cables from the US, the UK, Germany and France, land in Mumbai. With the proposed investment, Mumbai will emerge as the data centre capital of South Asia.’’ He said the investment is important as data generated here will be preserved here and the processing too will be done here. He added, this was crucial when data privacy legislation under consideration.
The official said that while direct employment generation would be moderate, the overall impact, including indirect employment in related sectors would be phenomenal. Data centres would be highly power intensive, as they would need 500-1,000MW power. All data centre power companies are expected to generate green power, including solar and wind.
‘‘The state government is in the process of coming out with an independent data centre park policy by August-end. The policy will facilitate the setting up of wind and solar power projects or hybrid projects by data centre companies. Initially, in the first phase, these companies will set up such power projects with generation capacity of 300-500MW, which can later go up to 1,000MW,’’ said the official. The state-run Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation will facilitate these companies to set up green power projects and will provide land on lease or on short-term rental, depending on the requirement of the company.
According to the official, the government intends to provide exemption in stamp duty and other financial incentives. However, these companies are much more concerned about ease of doing business, uninterrupted power supply at reasonable cost. These companies want relaxation in development control rules and parking space.