Decks cleared for Kerala Smart City
The Rs 1,500 crore Smart City project proposed to come up in Kochi inched closer to reality with Kerala government and representatives of the Dubai administration ironing out their differences and inking a new deal on Wednesday. The state cabinet approved the final terms for executing the IT park, expected to create about 1 lakh new jobs. Chief Minister V S Achutanandan said Dubai-based Tecom, the promoter, would not have the right to transfer the freehold land in the project. The project, originally agreed upon in 2007, had failed to take off following differences between the state and Tecom over the latter’s right on the freehold land. The original agreement promised 12% of the 246 acres on which the project is envisaged as freehold. Tecom, however, wanted the right to separate the same. But the state refused, saying the whole project enjoyed SEZ status. With both sides raising the red flag, there was even the fear that it would have to be shelved. But then a prominent NRI businessman, Yusuf Ali, was brought in as an interlocutor. This led to talks between CM Achutanandan and UAE government representative Ahmed Humaiud Al Tayer. Tecom scaled down its demand and both sides decided to execute the project. Land acquisition for the project was completed long back and foundation stone laid in 2007.