'Controversial' SmartCity project takes off today

'Controversial' SmartCity project takes off today

The project will offer world-class infrastructure to IT and ITes companies. The project is promoted by Smart City Kochi Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, a joint venture of TECOM Investments, Dubai, and the  Kerala government. “It  will create 90,000 job opportunities and would highlight the state as an investor-friendly destination,” Baju George, managing director of Smart City Kochi told Deccan Herald. The project will be completed in five and a half years, instead of 10 years as planned earlier, he added.

This finally puts an end to uncertainties involving the project which was first conceived in 2004 by the then ruling coalition of Kerala United Democratic Front. An MoU was signed with the Dubai-based promoters later.

But the project got entangled in controversies subsequently following criticism raised by the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) that certain provisions in the MoU were not in the best of interests of the state. Abu Dhabi-based Indian businessman M A Yusuf Ali played a major role in sorting out differences between the LDF government and TECOM. On the construction plan, George said a high-profile pavilion will be the first building to be constructed. It will house project, marketing and administration teams.

The Union government had decided to confer special economic zone status to the entire project last month.

The total area of the project is 246 acres. The entire project of SmartCity will be completed in three stages, he said. “In the first stage, 60 acres of land will be developed which means a built up space of 3,00,000 sq ft,” he said. When completed, SmartCity will have a minimum total area of 88 lakh sq ft.

According to George, the state government has promised to build four modern roads to SmartCity.

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