Kathmandu, January 11:

Having realised the significance of information technology in developing every sector of the economy and society, the government appears to have sharpened its focus on IT and IT-related activities.

The IT Park, developed in Banepa more than two years back which was lying unused till now, has finally got its first occupant. A software development company from the Netherlands has moved in and is developing software to be exported to the Netherlands.

“Earlier, people were scared to go to Banepa to set up IT units for security reasons. Now with the changed political environment, the situation is more conducive for business there,” says Saroj Devkota, vice-chairman, High Level Commission for Information Technology (HLCIT). There are just two foreigners in the total 40 employees working at the software firm there, he informs.

The Banepa IT Park, with complete connectivity like fibre optic wiring and VSAT, has capacity to house six companies with altogether 140 people working in one shift. “At the moment, we are evaluating letters of interest submitted by four other companies. One is from Finland and the others are joint ventures with foreign companies,” points out Devkota. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is engaged in the process of developing an e-governance project for Nepal based on the Master Plan submitted by South Korea, informs the HLCIT vice-chairman.

“Korea is emerging as one of the most IT developed countries in the world and appears keen to help Nepal develop its IT industry,” avers Devkota.

The government is also in discussion with the Koreans towards creating a centralised data centre wherein data from all ministries and departments can be stored. “Since we lack a centralised data centre, whenever the National Planning Commission or the Prime Minister’s office require a particular data, they have to first approach the concerned department which then furnishes the desired information,” he points out. Last month, a team from Korea was in Nepal to do a feasibility study for setting up a data centre and has finalised a $2 million project, he informs. “Within two months we are likely to sign the agreement and start the project.”