Kochi Smart City off the block
The Smart City project, which has been in limbo for over four years, is finally off the block with the signing of the lease deed between the state government and Tecom, the Dubai-based IT company and promoter of the project, on Wednesday in Kochi. Work on the project, which is expected to generate over 90,000 direct employment opportunities, will begin soon. State fisheries minister S Sarma, who is also the Smart City board chairman, and Abul Lathif Almulla, Tecom CEO, signed the deed at a meeting here. Two separate lease deeds covering the entire 246 acres were signed. The Centre has already approved special economic zone (SEZ) status for 131 acres of land in the project area. Sarma said the official notification on the SEZ status would be issued within two weeks. Almulla said preliminary work on the project would start after the notification was issued. Representatives of the governments of Dubai and Kerala and Tecom had on February 2 agreed to revive the project, which was stalled following disputes between Tecom and the state government. The dispute arose after Tecom demanded that they be given the right to sell the land in the freehold area within the project site. The government had said no to this demand.