The Tata Group has decided to defer its plan of setting up a rural business process outsourcing unit near the proposed steel plant at Kalinganagar in Orissa by two years. The infrastructure required for the centre is not yet ready due to an agitation by the locals, who are protesting the development of the six-million-tonne greenfield steel project in the Jajpur district of Orissa.
The company, instead, is now planning to start a rural BPO in Tata Group's traditional bastion Jamshedpur and plans to replicate the model in Orissa and a couple other places, a senior official of the Tata Group told Business Standard.
The company has identified a school building in the Sakchi area of the steel city, which is owned by the Tata Group, for the proposed centre. Once operational, the 250-seater centre - which will run in four shifts - aims to provide employment opportunities to about 1,000 rural youths from Jharkhand, the official said.
"We plan to start this (rural BPO) in Jamshedpur as a template which would be operational by the end of this year. Once operational, we aim to start similar centres in Orissa, which might be 18 months after the first centre," the official said. He added the company had plans to open 3-4 such centres.
While it has already identified Kalinganagar in Orissa as one of the locations for rural BPO centres, the company is planning to open a rural BPO in Jharkhand, the exact location of which is yet to be finalised. The company is also planning to set up one more rural BPO in Orissa.
In May last year, Tata Steel has decided to establish a rural BPO centre in Kalinganagar, which was seen as a conciliatory move towards the educated locals who were agitating against displacement and loss of livelihood by the company's mega steel plant in the area.
The centre was supposed to be established by the Tata Business Support Services, the BPO wing of Tata Sons, in partnership with Tata Steel Rural Development Society, which is a corporate NGO managed by the Tata Group.
The company had even started recruiting locals for the centre and had sent a few of them for training to TBSS' headquarters in Hyderabad. Sources said, after the end of the training, the recruits from Orissa have been placed in Hyderabad. They are handling Tata Teleservices' customer support in Orissa.