Abdullatif Almulla appointed Vice Chairman of Kochi SmartCity

Abdullatif Almulla, CEO of TECOM Investments, has been appointed as Chairman of SmartCity Kochi, a self sustained knowledge-based industry township being developed in Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala. The project, which is jointly promoted by TECOM Investments and the government of Kerala, was recently inaugurated by Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.

The announcement of Almulla's appointment came at SmartCity Kochi's first board meeting, which took place in Cochin and was attended by representatives of the Kerala Government; Minister for Fisheries S. Sharma, who is also the Chairman of SmartCity Kochi; Fareed Abdulrahman, Executive Director of SmartCity; Deepak S. Padmanabhan and Jamal Abdulsalam, Executive Director of Dubai Internet City.

The pilot meeting focused on the future course of action in the implementation of SmartCity Kochi, the budget and marketing plans for 2008, and the synergy between the government of Kerala and TECOM in promoting Kerala and SmartCity Kochi as an IT destination. A team to handle initial on ground operations was also approved by the Board members.

Fareed Abdulrahman, Executive Director - SmartCity, said: "We are happy to convene our first Board of Directors meeting. The decisions taken by the Board have set the path for the project to be rolled out in the required direction. We are fully confident about the success of SmartCity Kochi and delighted to play a part in opening up new avenues of growth in the Indian state, specifically in the IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) sectors."

SmartCity Kochi will be one of India's largest business parks with an employment generation potential of over 90,000 jobs. Apart from drawing strong foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, the project's multiplier effects are expected to bring several other benefits to the economy.

SmartCity Kochi will include a state of the art business-community infrastructure, and a dynamic range of retail, hospitality, residential and recreational facilities that drive productive business as well as a quality lifestyle.

Source : arabianbusiness.com

Cabinet nod for separate IT firm

The Kerala government has sought to decentralise the booming information technology industry by setting up a separate company to develop infrastructure for IT companies across the state.

The state cabinet that met here yesterday has given the go-ahead for establishing the company with private participation. The government will have 51 per cent stake in the company called IT Infrastructure Kerala (ITIK), Chief Minister V.S Achuthanandan told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

He said that a sum of Rs500 million will be set apart for the new venture in the coming financial year. The move is on the basis of the government’s IT policy, envisaging development of small towns with basic infrastructure for the IT industry in a hub-and-spoke model.

The government has identified 12 such towns. Work has already started for setting up IT parks in Palghat, Calicut, Aleppey and Quilon in addition to massive expansion of infrastructure in Trivandrum and Cochin, which have already emerged as major IT hubs.

While the government has joined hands with Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) to set up a Smart City in Cochin, a Technocity is being built in Trivandrum as part of the Technopark to attract more IT companies into the state.

The IT industry now employs over 30,000 professionals. The government expects to create another 170,000 new jobs through the expansion of infrastructure at Cochin and Trivandrum. The number of IT jobs in the state could go up to one million with the development of infrastructure in small towns, according to experts.

The cabinet has also given approval for signing the agreement with the Pathi Bell for resuming the suspended road development works as part of the World Bank-aided Kerala State Transport Project.

The chief minister said that the government had succeeded in bringing down the arbitration claim made by the Malaysian company from Rs960 million to Rs35 million.

He said that the government would sign a fresh contract with the company and commence the work.


TECOM Investments wins acclaim from globalbusiness leaders

TECOM Investments’ unprecedented success in its concept of industry clusters won the operator of knowledge-based free zones further international acclaim at the recently held annual forum of the European Foundation for Quality Management in Athens.

The EFQM Athens Forum saw 800 global business leaders coming together to discuss “Building high performing organisations in Europe”. Key parameters to establish quality excellence in a competitive and global environment were identified.

EFQM, a not-for-profit membership foundation, is the driving force for sustainable excellence in organisations across Europe. It is the creator of the EFQM Excellence Model that provides organisations with a guideline to achieve and measure their success.

TECOM Investments’ industry clusters, including the Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village, have registered remarkable annual growth over the years, resulting in new overseas ventures such as SmartCity Malta and SmartCity Kerala. Its business models have been commended by high-ranking delegations from countries such as France, South Korea, Malta and El Salvador that recently visited TECOM Investments to review its offerings.

Most of the new industry clusters including DuBiotech, Dubai Studio City and the International Media Production Zone were also showcased at the forum, drawing heightened interest from some of the world’s leading organisations. The visitors were provided with an insight into the EFQM model of global best practices that is deployed at TECOM Investments’ free zones.

TECOM Investments’ free zones – Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City – host nearly 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Knowledge Village, Dubai International Academic City, DuBiotech and Dubai Studio City have generated phenomenal global interest. Several academic, media, IT and biotechnology brands have located their regional headquarters at the TECOM clusters that is set to become the global destination for top of the range knowledge-based institutions.


Smart City Kochi rises again

Last week Kochi played host to a scintillating ceremony to lay the foundation stone for what has been billed as one of India’s largest knowledge-based industry townships.

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Fareed Abdurrahman, Executive Director, Dubai’s Tecom Investments, were in a decidedly upbeat mood as they announced grand plans for the SmartCity Kochi project promoted by Dubai’s SmartCity, the joint-venture company formed by Tecom Investments and Sama Dubai, both members of Dubai Holding.

Lauding it as a fine example of public-private participation, the Chief Minister said the SmartCity project aims to become a “township for knowledge-based companies.” The project will be based on the successful business models of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village.

With an estimated investment of $350 million, the project aims to create 8.8 million square feet of built-up space with necessary infrastructure, environment and support systems, which will be offered to knowledge-based companies. It will also offer a host of business support services as well as residential, hospitality and recreational facilities.

‘Hub’ of excellence

Fareed Abdul Rahman, a senior executive of the TECOM Investments, was quoted in The Hindu as saying that the Kochi project was the second SmartCity, the other being SmartCity Malta.

“We envisage SmartCity Kochi to be a significant hub of excellence for knowledge-based industries. At an early stage, we had identified Kochi as a location with significant potential to become a knowledge-based industry hub,” he was quoted in the paper.

Expected to offer world-class infrastructure, environment and support systems, SmartCity Kochi will be a cardinal building block for the State’s knowledge-based industry growth and is anticipated to create 90,000 jobs when completed. The Kerala Government has transferred 246 acres of land to SmartCity Kochi as part of the agreement.

“After we signed the agreement for this project in May, we have had a large number of enquiries to build similar projects across the State. We will go ahead with similar projects in every district in the State,” the Chief Minister announced at the inaugural ceremony.

Whether these are mere pipe dreams and whether the 90,000 jobs promised will actually materialise is far from clear.

Yet, in the current flush of excitement in Kochi, the State’s commercial capital, no one seems really bothered.

Cluster history

Around the world, parks have helped usher in mini-industrial revolutions, ever since Alfred Marshall, an economist at the University of Cambridge, US, and the father of research parks, first suggested the idea of synergistic industries clustering together to enjoy economies of scale. He imagined a scenario where academic research and business acumen merged to create new companies, jobs and wealth.

The first such park, still regarded the mother of all technology parks, is the Stanford Research Park at Stanford University, in northern California, built in 1951.

It gave birth to some of the world’s most famous tech companies - from Hewlett-Packard to Yahoo! to Cisco Systems, not to mention hundreds of small startups across the US.

The International Association of Science Parks (IASP) officially defines a park as “an organisation managed by specialised professionals whose main aim is to increase the wealth of its community by promoting the culture of innovation and the competitiveness of its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions.”

A park, it says, should stimulate and manage “the flow of knowledge and technology among universities, R&D institutions, companies and markets.”

Moreover, it should use incubation and spin-off processes to facilitate the creation and growth of innovative companies. Finally, the IASP says, a park should provide value-added services, and high-quality space and facilities.

The challenge

That remains the challenge for Kochi’s SmartCity. One key element in the success of parks is their ability to meet their client companies’ needs by providing the right mix of services and facilities, co-operation and networking.

One analyst says that good science parks do by design what occurred organically in California’s Silicon Valley.

How SmartCity Kochi designs its future will thus be crucial. Rather than be overly biased towards software and Internet firms, today’s successful parks focus on companies working in such cutting-edge areas as biotechnology, nanotechnology (and materials science), wireless communications, environmental technology and high-end graphics, animation and computer gaming media.

Will SmartCity Kochi be able to lure some of them to set up shop in Kerala?

Source: Sify

Kochi, best Indian city to live in: survey

Kochi has emerged as the most liveable city in India followed by Kozhikode, according to a study by the New Delhi-based economics research and data analysis firm Indicus Analytics.

Shimla stood third followed by Thiruvananthapuram, Mysore, Goa, Thrissur and Puthucherry, says its survey, the Housing Skylines of India 2007-08.

Interestingly, four out of the ten best places to live in are in Kerala and eight are in the southern states.

The survey that provides information on households across different income groups, family structure, ownership and growth of the sector ranks the Indian cities on three indices — to reside in, invest in and earn in.

Silvassa, the capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Coimbatore and Ludhiana are the best cities to invest in while Gurgaon, Silvassa and Noida offer maximum earnings. An extra demand for 9mn households are expected by 2015 in the emerging Indian cities.

Over 600,000 millionaires are concentrated in just ten cities of the country, with the national capital accounting for maximum number of them, the survey says.

New Delhi has the largest number of millionaire households in the country (138,000) followed by Bangalore (104,000) while Chandigarh has the maximum density of millionaires earning more than Rs100,000 a year followed by Silvassa and Rupnagar in Punjab.

Thane, Pune, Surat, Ahemdabad and Jaipur also figure among the top ten cities in terms of number of millionaire families. Interestingly, most of the metros are not on top of the list. Chennai ranked ninth, Hyderabad 12th and Kolkata 26th.

In Kerala, the booming port city of Kochi and the state capital Thiruvananthapuram are witnessing heavy demand in the housing sector triggered by software and hospitality industries.
“Within the next two years, 65,000 more IT jobs are expected to be created in Kerala at the existing facilities. Added to this is the Smart City which is expected to create 10,000 jobs every year for the next ten years. There is going to be huge demand-supply gap,” Kerala Builders Forum president George E George said.

According to KBF estimates, 12,200 housing units are under construction in these two cities which are expected to be completed in 2008-2009. All realty majors, including Puravankara, DLF Infra, HDIL and Sobha are already here offering high-end housing units.

“It’s going to be a housing explosion in Kerala. The sector has so far been investor-driven but that scenario is going to change with heavy investments coming in the knowledge-based industries. The growing demand for living space in these two cities would also push up rentals by 30 to 40%, fuelling the investor appetite,” George said.

Meanwhile, eminent jurist V R Krishna Iyer, who heads the state’s law reforms commission, recommended strong measures to control land prices in the state.

“The land hat used to be available for Rs10,000 a cent in Kochi now fetches Rs10mn because of the land mafia. People cannot afford to live here. Strict regulations should be enforced to end the speculative buying,” he told reporters in Kochi.


Big IT projects may help State catch up with front runners

Its software exports are dwarfed by strides made by neighbouring States

‘Software exports expected to touch Rs.1,200 crore this year’

Kochi accounted for only a quarter of the State’s software exports during 2006-07

Even as the information technology (IT) sector in Kerala is expected to cross a milestone this year, when software exports surpass the anticipated Rs.1,000-crore mark, it is looking to mega projects, such as the Smart City, for which the foundation stone was laid here on Friday, to catapult the State into the league of front runners in the country’s software and services export arena.

The State’s software exports during 2006-07 totalled Rs.750 crore and this year (2007-08), the figure is expected to touch Rs.1,200 crore, said Ramesh Kumar, Director, Software Technology Parks of India, Thiruvananthapuram.

The exports increased by 66 per cent during 2006-07 from the Rs.452 crore of the previous year.

When seen in a broader regional perspective, these figures are dwarfed by the huge strides that the neighbouring States in the south have been making on this front, say industry observers. But Kerala compares favourably with these States when it comes to the growth rate and has outstripped by a wide margin the 32 per cent growth in exports recorded at the national level during the year.

And the further development of the Kerala IT sector will be of a different order from what has been witnessed so far, given that several big projects are being planned or are in the process of being implemented in various parts of the State. Kerala has so far never seen so many IT projects in the making at one time in both the public and private sectors.

Kochi will also eventually emerge as a major player, though it accounted for only a quarter of the State’s software exports during 2006-07. Units in Kochi, excluding those in the Cochin Special Economic Zone, accounted for only Rs.186 crore of the total exports of Rs.750 crore. And Technopolis, the IT Park located in the zone, was able to garner exports totalling Rs.17.45 crore, said Thomas George Muthoot, managing director of the Muthoot Pappachan group and Technopolis.

The export figures had already gone up to Rs.30.91 crore till October this year as more units had become functional at the park.

While the ground has been cleared for the execution of the Smart City project, Wipro, IBS and TCS are among the companies strengthening their presence in Kochi’s Infopark, even as L&T and the Leela group are substantially adding to its infrastructure in terms of built-up space.

Several other big projects, such as Technocity planned in Thiruvananthapuram, are in the pipeline. Private players such as the Muthoot and Leela groups have come up with their projects on the IT front, apart from Sobha Developers, which is to build a high-tech city in Kochi. That several companies have either ramped up their operations in the State or are setting up dedicated campuses in Infopark and Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram will help in pushing up software exports in the near term. Companies such as IBS, NeST, Case Consultants, Tata Elxsi, TCS and Infosys figure among such companies in Technopark, which is in an expansion mode.

Among the districts, Thiruvananthapuram continues to account for a major chunk of software exports from the State. The units in Thiruvananthapuram accounted for a whopping Rs.557.8 crore of the total exports of Rs.750 crore. And Technopark continues to retain its pride of place as the IT park which has contributed the most, with its units having earned Rs.520 crore by way of exports.

However, in terms of export volumes, Kerala has a long way to go to catch up with its southern neighbours. Karnataka, the State that leads the IT race in the country, notched up exports totalling Rs.48,700 crore during 2006-07, while Tamil Nadu earned export revenues amounting to Rs.20,702 crore. Andhra Pradesh had exports of Rs.18,582 crores compared to Rs.12,521 crores the previous year.

Kerala will look forward to big projects such as Smart City to help it achieve the quantum leap required on the IT front in the long run to place it on an even footing with some of its southern neighbours.

Source:The Hindu

Kerala and Dubai formally launch Smart City Kochi project

Kerala yesterday logged on to the world IT map by joining hands with Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) to set up SmartCity in the state’s commercial capital.

The foundation stone for the $ 350 million industry township for the knowledge-based industries was laid jointly by State Chief Minister V S Achutanandan and SmartCity Executive Director Fareed Abdulrahman near Infopark here in the afternoon.

TECOM executive chairman Ahmed Bin Byat, who was to unveil the foundation stone, could not make it owing to ‘reasons beyond his control’. His message, read out by Abdulrahman, said that the project would be able to tap Cochin’s tremendous potential for growth.

“We envisage SmartCity Cochin to be a significant hub of excellence for knowledge-based industries. It has some of the key factors required for knowledge-based growth. The state has a vast pool of talent and the government is committed to knowledge-based development,” he added.

Byat said that the Smart City would open several new opportunities and avenues of growth in this industry, particularly the IT and ITES sectors. It would play a key role in SmartCity’s own global plans.

He said that TECOM’s objective was to create a global network of self-sustained industry townships for the knowledge-based industry. “SmartCity Cochin will be a significant part in the network of knowledge-based industry townships we are seeking to develop across the world”.

Byat said that TECOM would be working closely with the Kerala government and the industry in the state to develop SmartCity into a rich and vibrant knowledge-based industry community. “We will be designing the project to create an inspiring, productive environment where knowledge workers can exchange ideas, share knowledge and explore partnerships.”

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that the government would take immediate steps to solve the traffic problems plaguing the city by developing road and water transport networks.

He said that the project had encouraged many private investors to invest in the IT sector.

Kochi ready for Smart City inauguration

Image & Video coutesy - Manorma News
  • 10,000 people expected to attend the function

  • Security tightened at the venue

  • Marketing Director of Tecom to supervise arrangements

“Network of opportunities” – reads a signboard put up on the way leading to the site of the Smart City project.

That pretty much sums up the excitement surrounding the project.

As the day for the stone-laying function of the Smart City project is closing in, preparations have gathered momentum.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Tecom Executive Chairman Ahmad Bin Byat will jointly lay the stone at 11 a.m. on Friday.

The stone-laying function is expected to last about 45 minutes.

A huge pandal and a temporary bridge across Edachira Canal connecting the venue are in the final stages of completion.

A science and IT-related show by Tecom would add charm to the occasion. About 10,000 people are expected to attend the function.

Jazia Mohammed, Marketing Director of Tecom, promoters of the project, reached the city on Tuesday for direct supervision of the preparations.

Tecom has fully taken over the arrangements being made on the venue, District Collector A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish said. Project Director Baju George is expected to reach the city on Tuesday night, he said.

Security has been tightened at the venue in view of the high profile function to be attended by many dignitaries.

A large contingent of police force has been deployed at the venue and surrounding areas, the Collector said.

The district authorities have started sending invitations for the function. “We are inviting people from all of walks of life from across the district. The people to be rehabilitated for the project are also among the invitees,” he said.

Source:The Hindu

Also See

Smart City Kochi foundation to be laid on November 16

The foundation stone for the Rs15bn ($381mn) Smart City project to be built by the Dubai Internet City (DIC) will be laid on November 16, an official said yesterday.

Joseph C Mathew, IT adviser to Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said that a high-level delegation from Dubai will attend the ceremony.

“DIC officials are now working on the master plan of the project. It would take almost a year for the work to commence on the buildings. First, they will have to build two bridges and then two years from now, the first phase of the project will be ready,” Mathew said.

The project has come under a cloud since former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy last Monday asked the state government to come clean on the changes made in the deal.

Rubbishing the charges made by Chandy, Achuthanandan on Friday said the opposition is raking up issues unnecessarily. “Our agreement with the DIC is much better than what they made,” he said.
Chandy, who began discussions with the DIC more than three years ago, said he would not be able to attend the foundation-laying ceremony as he would be in Delhi for the All India Congress Committee meeting.

“I am handing over a letter to Achuthanandan asking him to explain why he has made many changes after the project was cleared by the cabinet. The government order to this effect indicates that the changes were made because the DIC was insisting on it. The people of Kerala wish to know why these changes were made. It is detrimental to the interests of the state,” said Chandy. – IANS


Smart City Malta Model

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Smart City Malta Renderings
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Smart City Malta Renderings

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$385-m Dubai-Tecom Smartcity Kochi work will start on Nov 13, 2007

Land ready, Dubai Tecom’s Smartcity project in Kochi will start civil work from November 13. Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan is expected to chair the proposed 10-member board of directors, who divulged the work-schedule. The foundation stone of the project, counted on to whip up 90,000 direct jobs, will be laid on November 13. It was on May 2007 that the MoU for the Smartcity project at Kochi was signed between TECOM and Kerala government.


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Smart City Kochi construction work to start next month [November]

Dubai’s Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) will start construction work next month on a $385mn IT park in Kerala, officials said yesterday.

The foundation stone would be laid in the first week of November for the Rs15bn Smart City project near Kochi, said Joseph Mathew, information technology consultant to the state government.

“Smart City will become a reality soon. The government will hand over 246 acres of land to TECOM, promoters of the project,” Mathew said.
Kerala signed a memorandum of understanding with TECOM to develop the Smart City last May.

The project aims to create 90,000 new jobs within 10 years in a state where 4mn under 35 are unemployed among a population of 31.8mn.

Senior district administrator Hanish Mohamed said the government would grant the land on a 99-year lease and provide water, power and a four-lane highway to Smart City, a joint venture which will run the project.

The Kerala government will have a 26% stake and three seats, including the chair, on a 10-member board.

TECOM public relations manager Baiju Francis said the new zone would be located at Kakkanad.
Some 70% of the space would be devoted to IT and IT-related activities and the remainder given over to commercial use, including retail, a residential complex, hotels and recreational facilities.

Smart City is a joint venture between TECOM Investments and SAMA Dubai, part of the Dubai Holding group, set up in March 2007 to develop and manage knowledge industry townships worldwide.

Smart City also sealed an agreement with the government of Malta to establish Smart City Malta last April. “Kochi Smart City is our second such venture,” Francis said.


Kerala IT sector to get big boost

Information technology infrastructure in Kerala will witness tremendous growth in the next three years, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said here yesterday.

“Several projects, both the government and private initiatives, are coming up throughout the state,” he said while inaugurating the new 450,000-sq ft campus of the IBS Software Services, a leading global provider of new-generation IT solutions to the travel, transportation and logistics industry, at Technopark here.

Dubai’s Tecom Investments is developing a 350-acre Smart City while Sobha Developers has started work on the 400-acre Hi-Tec city in Kochi. These two projects alone are expected to create 150,000 jobs.

Besides, the state government has announced a 500-acre Techno City to be built in Thiruvananthapuram and a contract had been awarded to a Malaysian consortium to develop a similar facility in Kozhikode.

The Cochin International Airport is developing an IT Park within its complex while major players like HDIL have announced a number of projects to build IT infrastructure in the state.
“The investment profile of the state has changed drastically and we receive a lot of inquiries these days for setting up new projects. Unlike Bangalore or Hyderabad, these are not concentrated in a single city,” Achuthanandan who also holds the IT portfolio said.

The IBS facility Achuthanandan inaugurated in the presence of former chief minister Oommen Chandy who took major initiatives to attract investors in the sector, is the first of the four blocks on the company’s campus spread over 5.26 acres within Technopark.

“We are planning similar campuses in all the 14 districts of the state and it won’t be limited to certain pockets. We are looking at a decentralised development of the IT industry in the state,” the chief minister said.

With a built-up area of 450,000 sq ft, the campus will accommodate over 4,000 professionals.
“Besides government support, the excellent infrastructure available at the Technopark here and Infopark in Kochi has encouraged us to maintain Kerala as the hub for our India operations,” V K Mathews, chairman of IBS, said. “The state is emerging as a key IT destination and IBS’ growth over the last decade is testimony to our belief in Kerala.”

IT majors Wipro, Infosys and TCS are also building similar campuses in the state.
The IBS India operates out of 200,000sq ft of office space in three buildings in the Technopark and two buildings in Infopark.

“This campus here marks a beginning for the next level of our aggressive growth plans, as we aim to grow into a Rs10bn company by 2010. We also have plans to set up other campuses within Kerala, in Kochi and Kozhikode, and to open development centres outside the state,” Mathews said.

Meanwhile, UST Global, a California-based IT firm that has its Indian headquarters at Technopark here, yesterday announced expansion plans involving an investment of $130mn (Rs5bn).

Sajan Pillai, president and chief operating officer of the company, said the development strategy would be rolled out in three phases.

“We are building our own campus at the 36 acres that Kerala government has given us inside Technopark. After it is completed, we would have 1.3mn sq ft of campus that would employ 10,000 professionals,” Pillai said.

UST Global began its operations in 1999. Today it is the biggest software employer in Kerala with a total business of $250mn last fiscal.

Currently it employs 5,500 professionals, of which close to 3,500 work at Technopark.

Smart City Kochi: stone to be laid this month

The foundation stone for the Smart City Kochi project will be laid this month, District Collector A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish said.

He told presspersons at the Collectorate that a search was on for a venue for the function.

He said the State government was in a position to hand over the entire 246 acres (one acre = 0.4 hectare) of land needed for the project to Tecom, its promoters, the moment the lease agreement was signed. Tecom had been informed about this.

He said the doubt if the entire land could be handed over owing to agitations had been proved wrong.

Evictees from 13 acres of land at Edachira had agreed to accept the rehabilitation package, and alternative land would be provided to them through a draw of lots, he said.

Another 10 acres, entangled in legal issues, was acquired last week after the State government, on the instructions of the court, considered the complaints raised by the inhabitants and dismissed them as baseless, he said.

Of the total land, 136 acres belonged to private parties, 100 acres to the Kerala State Electricity Board at Brahmapuram and 10 acres to Kinfra.

The State government was expected to provide a four-lane highway between the Brahmapuram land and the rest.

He said the 16 acres identified for the second phase of Infopark would have to be acquired for laying the road. The draft notification of this land had been issued.

Under the rehabilitation package for Smart City evictees, six cents of land will be given free of cost to all families giving up their land for the project, while another five cents will be given to those who part with 15 cents or more.

Steps were also taken to divide the land identified for rehabilitation into plots for distribution.

Source:The Hindu

IT, ITES majors invited to invest in Kerala

Rs. 6,000 crore invested in two techno parks

Computer training being provided to 38,000 students

Bangalore: Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achutanandan on Sunday invited information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services majors to invest in his State, which had created a world-class infrastructure, an industry-friendly climate and free from labour unrest.

Addressing presspersons before launching the first-ever road show here and meeting with the representatives of the IT majors, Mr. Achutanandan said that the IT captains such as Infosys Chief Mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy, who had visited the Technopark and Infopark in his State, were impressed by the infrastructure and clean-green atmosphere there.

Mr. Achutanandan, who visited the Infosys Technologies campus at Electronics City, said that the corporate houses were happy with the progressive policies and low operational costs and were eager to shift their expansion programmes to Kerala.

He said that investments to the tune of about Rs. 6,000 crore had been made in these two parks and another Rs. 6,000 crore in Technocity and other areas was in the offing. An apex company had been created and project-specific special purpose vehicles would handle the new IT projects. There will be a uniform spread of IT development in all the districts, he said.

A 507-acre IT township — Technocity — would come up in Thiruvananthapuram and work on the smart city project at Kochi would commence by the end of October. Apart from this, IT parks were coming up in all the districts. He said that the State had the best IT/ITES trained manpower, 75 per cent savings on start-up and operational costs and a strong data backbone.

Kerala IT Secretary K.R. Jyothilal said his State had learnt lessons from Karnataka’s problems in handling the IT industry and that the IT majors would not find any problems in investing there. He said that the State had entered into collaboration with Infosys for starting Finishing Schools for the weaker sections. Shashi Tharoor, former Under Secretary of the United Nations, was also helping the state in establishing more finishing schools, he said.

Mr. Jyothilal said that it was the policy of the Government to introduce computer training and 38,000 students in 2,800 high schools had been getting training. Next year, the number would rise to two lakh.

IT road show in Bangalore by Kerala CM V.S. Achuthanandan

Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, taking cue from his West Bengal counterpart, will lead a road show in Bangalore to promote Kerala as an IT destination.

He will be accompanied by top executives from the IT sector and they are expected to showcase their success stories before 50 Chief Executive Officers (CEO) from the IT industry.

Speaking to IANS from Bangalore, Kerala IT secretary K R Jyothilal said, "The Chief Minister himself is leading the show and this is the first in the series of shows that we are planning to hold in different parts of the country and abroad."

Achuthanandan will visit the Infosys campus on an invitation from Infosys mentor N R Narayana Murthy.

"Those attending the CEO meeting include top executives from the country's leading IT companies. These successful IT companies, who are already are doing well in Kerala, would be sharing their experiences with the CEOs," said the IT secretary.

The chief minister also handles the IT portfolio and his stock has improved ever since he signed an understanding with the Dubai Internet City (DIC) for the proposed Rs.15 billion Smart City project to come up in Kochi.

Achuthanandan, while in the opposition (2001-06), had opposed giving a blank cheque to the DIC officials but after coming to power he made the DIC agree to virtually all his terms and conditions.

IT exports from Kerala has grown from Rs.4.5 billion in the year 2005-06 to Rs 10 billion in the last fiscal year.


Smart City - New Global Corporate identity

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry (fourth from right), with Fareed Abdulrahman (second from right), executive director of Smart City, and others following the launch of SmartCity's global corporate identity at Gitex Technology Week in Dubai.

Smart City, a new global company seeking to develop a worldwide network of self-sustained industry townships for knowledge-based companies based on the successful models of Dubai Internet City (DIC) and Dubai Media City, yesterday launched its global corporate identity.

The launch was held at the DIC Community Zone at GITEX Technology Week 2007, the leading information technology industry trade show in the Middle East.

The company said its logo reflects its global network and vast future growth opportunities. All its international projects will incorporate this logo.

A joint venture between Dubai-based Tecom Investments and Sama Dubai, Smart City is currently developing Smart City Malta and Smart City Kochi in India. It is also examining several other locations with a view to developing similar knowledge-based clusters.

Tecom Investments executive chairman Ahmad Bin Byat said: "Smart City promises to make a significant contribution to the development of knowledge-based industries across the world.

"Its projects have the potential to stimulate tremendous growth by opening new development avenues for knowledge-based companies, knowledge workers and local governments."

Smart City Malta, the island's largest ever foreign direct investment, is expected to generate over 5,600 jobs. Smart City Kochi, set to be one of India's largest knowledge-industry parks, has the potential of generating more than 90,000 jobs.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Minister for IT & Investment Austin Gatt are heading a government delegation that leaves today on a two-day official visit to Dubai.

At a presentation that will be made at the Dubai Internet City Zone’s stand at the Gitex Technology Week, the largest information technology trade event in the region and one of the major annual IT events in the world, Dr Gonzi will unveil a model of SmartCity Malta tomorrow.

Dr Gonzi will give details of the biggest foreign investment the island has ever seen. The project is expected to create 5,600 jobs over eight years and promises to transform the derelict Ricasoli Industrial Estate into a state-of-the-art ICT and media business community.

The SmartCity Malta model shows how the project will actually look once it is completed. The model will illustrate in detail how the various components drawn up in the master plan agreed to between the government and SmartCity Malta will take shape.

Meanwhile, SmartCity, a new global company that seeks to develop a worldwide network of self-sustained industry townships for knowledge-based companies, based on the successful models of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, launched its global corporate identity yesterday.

SmartCity’s logo reflects its global network and its vast future growth opportunities. All its international projects will incorporate this logo into their own brand identities.

A joint venture between TECOM Investments and Sama Dubai, SmartCity is currently developing SmartCity Malta and SmartCity Kochi, knowledge-based industry townships based in Malta and the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is also examining several other locations with a view to developing similar knowledge-based clusters.

SmartCity projects will bring significant economic benefits both through direct development and indirect multiplier effects. SmartCity Kochi, set to be one of India’s largest knowledge-industry parks, has the potential of generating more than 90,000 jobs.

Based on the successful cluster models of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, each SmartCity project will provide a state-of-the-art business-community infrastructure for knowledge-based companies. In addition, it will also provide a one-stop-shop of business support services and a range of retail, hospitality, and residential and recreational facilities.


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Smart City Malta is a planned technology park to be constructed in Kalkara, Malta. The plan is to transform the Ricasoli Industrial Estate into a state-of-the-art information technology and media city on the models of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City. The project will cost at least 275 million Euros. The whole development, which covers an area of 350,000 square meters, is to be fully completed in 2021.

On Saturday, the new corporate identity for SmartCity was launched at the Gitex Technology Week at the Dubai Internet City Community Zone. The logo reflects the international network and opportunities that the Smart City can offer for future development. All Smart City international logos, including Smart City Malta, will bear the new logo.

Smart City Malta, which promises to transform Ricasoli Industrial Estate into a state-of-the-art Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and media business community, is expected to create 5,600 jobs over eight years. Meanwhile Smart City Kochi in India has the potential to generate over 9,000 occupations.

SmartCity Malta is the first overseas export of SmartCity brand that emerged from Dubai Internet and Media Cities in the United Arab Emirates. It will also be the first European outpost of the SmartCity concept synergising the advantages of Malta’s European Union membership with Dubai’s revolutionary record in the ICTs and Media businesses.

Smart City is made up of TECOM Investments and Sama Dubai. The company is currently examining other countries for developments of similar cities.

Present for the logo launch ceremony were Sheik Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Vice Head and Minister of Finance and Industry for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ahmad Bin Byat, TECOM Investments Executive Chairman, Farhan Faraidooni, Dubai Executive Chairman, Abdullatif Al Mulla, TECOM Investments Executive Head and Fareed Abdulrahman, SmartCity Executive Director.

News © Copyright 2007 by MaltaMedia.com

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Latest Developments of SmartCity Kochi

SmartCity putting off new developings

Smart city Kochi News on September 8, 2007

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry takes a closer look at the proposed model of Smart City - the Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) and the Kerala Government joint venture to be set-up in the Southern Indian state of Kerala, India, after inaugurating the Gitex.

Dubai: SmartCity says it has its hands full.

The UAE-headquartered builder of technology cluster developments is putting off new projects as it focuses on its $650 million of investments in Malta and Kerala. Both may take 10 years to complete.

Click here to see the Gitex event details (pdf)

The corporation, a joint venture between Tecom Investments and Sama Dubai, has being courted by several would-be partners, according to Tecom's CEO.

"We are getting requests from many, many countries," said Abdul Latif Al Mulla. "But we want to take our time to build our foundation." The new company launched its corporate identity yesterday during the opening ceremonies of the Gitex IT exhibition in Dubai yesterday.

Fareed Abdul Rahman, SmartCity's executive director, said, "We want to show we're committed to these two projects." But with the Indian economy experiencing dynamic growth, he said SmartCity will be watching the market closely going forward.

Construction of both projects could begin in October, said Abdul Rahman, although the masterplan of SmartCity Kochi in Kerala is not complete yet.

The new corporation leverages Sama Dubai's project management experience and Tecom's expertise in creating IT-focused economic zones such as Dubai Internet and Media City.


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Smart city Kochi News on 04-09-07

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The foundation stone for the Smartcity IT park in Kochi is expected to be laid this month as the basic works are progressing well, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said on Tuesday.

The Dubai-based promoter of the joint venture, TECOM, had informed the government that it had begun work on the blueprint of the project, Achuthanandan told the state assembly.

On its part, the state government had started work for creating basic infrastructure in the project area like roads, power and water supply.

Of the 246 acres of land to be leased, 222 acres had been acquired and the procedures for its transfer were in the final stage.

The funds for the basic works had been allocated in the budget through supplementary demands for grants.

The state officials and TECOM were in touch with each other and discussions had been held on the progress of work, he added.

News Source

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Kerala Stall at CeBIT 2007

Exhibition Stand of Kerala at CeBIT 2007

Click the Image for a larger view

Image © cebit

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100 floored Building to come up in Kochi

Kochi Trade Centre

100 floored Tower to come up in Kalamaserry, Kochi, Kerala

(By Zoom Developers)

  • 100 floored Trade center

  • 2 car parkings of 10 and 12 floor each(Total 22000 cars)

  • 30 floored 5 star hotel

  • Total 44 lakh sq ft

  • Convention and Exhibition centre in another 5 floors

  • Artificial lake,food village, Childrens' park, etc all designed in Singapore model.Designed by Singapore CPG group.

  • Estimated cost 1000 crores

  • This project will change the face of Kochi.Instead of fishings nets, this will be a land mark of kochi.

  • The project is awaiting environment clearance

News Source : Metro Manorama

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Hi-tech city in Kochi by Sobha Developers

Sobha Developers to sign MoU for hi-tech city in Kochi, Kerala

The Bangalore-based Sobha Developers Ltd is setting up a Rs 5,000-crore hi-tech city project in Kochi to create an integrated city of world class standards with a focus on R&D, knowledge dissemination, electronics, IT and pure and applied sciences.

A memorandum of understanding in this regard will be signed between Mr J.C.Sharma, Managing Director, Sobha Developers, and Mr T. Balakrishnan, Principal Secretary, State Industries Department in the presence of Sobha Group Chairman, Mr P.N.C.Menon, and the Industries Minister, Mr Elamaram Kareem, at Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.

PPP initiative

Initiated by the Department of Industries and Commerce, the MoU seeks to reinforce the PPP (public private partnership) initiative by the Kerala Government to bring the highest-ever investment in the State, Mr P. Ramakrishnan, Regional Director (Kerala), Sobha Developers Ltd, said at a press meet here on Saturday.

The project, which will be developed in 8 years, will come up in Maradu near Kochi in an area of around 400 acres.

It will include a 7 million sq ft knowledge park, retail shopping malls and avenues, hotels, resorts and other leisure facilities, residential complexes and all related infrastructure including a marina.


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Arab Sea Co Ltd to launch software business in Kerala

KOCHI: Saudi Arabia-based information technology firm Arab Sea Company Limited has decided to launch its software business in Kerala as part of India operations in the second week of August.

“Kochi-based Boon Innovations Limited has been appointed as the regional distributor for Kerala and through Boon we are going to promote our SMACC software in Kerala,” company Executive Director Haitham Mohamed Alshasibani told reporters here.

Founded in 1980, the company launched its popular SMACC (Sales Management and Accounting System), a software package for accounting, inventory and payroll solutions, in 1992.

The company plans to set up a development centre at an estimated cost of Rs100mn in SmartCity being built by Dubai’s Tecom Investments.“The company conducted surveys in the US, China, India, France, Malaysia, Russia and Denmark and found there was a vacuum for a good accounting package in India and hence we decided to launch its software business here,” Alshasibani said.

Every year 12,000 students are learning SMACC from different colleges in Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, the King Faisal University, Technical College (Kullia Tagnia) and Al Imam University are conducting regular courses on SMACC.

The company specialises in telecommunications and wireless security equipment. Its clientele includes government bodies and private companies in the Kingdom.


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Is 'Smart' city turns into stinking city?

Smart City Kochi News on 26th July 2007

The city, Kerala's commercial and IT hub, is fast turning into a 'stinking' city with authorities unable to find ways to dispose about 250 tonnes of garbage generated each day here.

The city does not have a waste treatment plant and the garbage generated was being dumped at nearby Brahmapuram, where the plant is expected to come up in six months time.

However, following protests from the residents of the area, authorities were forced to find alternate site at the Greater Island Development Authority (GIDA) at Marine Drive. But that site also ran into trouble, with children of the area falling sick and being hospitalised.

Since the past four days,garbage removal has come to a standstill and mounds of household and other waste can be seen strewn on the roadsides.

Efforts are being made to explore other sites for dumping the garbage and seek the Kerala High Court's permission in this regard, Ernakulam District Collector, A P M Mohammed Hanish said.

The garbage was earlier being dumped at nearby Wellington island, where the headquarters of the Southern Naval command is located. But after the navy objected, it was decided to dispose of the waste at Brahmapuram.

Now, efforts are being made to seek the Navy's permission once again.

What is giving sleepless nights to the authorities is that the district medical officials have warned of high vector indices in the city.

Kochi is the gateway to Kerala with its international airport, sea port and has good rail connectivity.

Several major projects, including the Rs 2,000 crore Smart IT infrastructure city project of the Dubai-based TECOM group, Vallarpadam International container Trainshipment Terminal, LNG Terminal, Rs 5,000 crore IT project of Shobha group "are all lined and the city is on the verge of explosive growth," say experts.

The smart city project alone will create about 90,000 jobs and in Infopark, where IT majors Wipro, TCS, IBS have set up operations, about 30,000 jobs are expected to be generated in the coming three years.

Kochi has seen a construction boom with major builders choosing the city for their various projects.

The government has to find a solution to dispose of the garbage before the situation gets out of control, say experts.


55% growth rate in Software exports from Kerala

Smart City Kochi Related News dated 6th June 2007

For the first time Kerala's software exports have logged a staggering 55% growth rate. This is against the national average of 33%.

One reason for the growth is the relatively low base of software volumes. But then, the IT majors parked in the state also happen to be in a collective consolidation mood. Till recently, there had not been much contribution from big-billed IT players in Kerala.

In the last fiscal, software exports from the state crossed Rs 700 crore revenue, K R Jyothilal, (special secretary (IT), Kerala) told FE. In the previous year this was only Rs 452 crore.
It was the anchor clientele firms of Technopark in Kerala who pushed the bulk of the software exports. US Technologies, IBS, SunTec and NeST are the leaders in the sudden export rally. There is also sceptism that some of their software export volumes are underreported.
The recent developments in the current fiscal are expected to push the export growth substantially, according to Jyothilal.
"With Technocity in Thiruvananthapuram, SmartCity in Kochi and smaller IT infrastructure parks in other districts, Kerala is making a serious pitch to be an IT destination of tomorrow," he said.
Six companies - Infosys,TCS, Tata Elexis, NeST, US Technology and IBS - are going about setting up independent campus within Technopark. Besides acquiring 100 acres of land, work is on to expand facilites in Technopark.
Three companies - Wipro, IBS and TCS - are setting up campus facilities in Infopark in Kochi. According to IT officials, the state government has decided to add a facility with 4 lakh sq ft to Infopark.
Besides, technology infrastructure players like L&T, Sobha Developers, Leela Group and Muthoot Group have undertaken IT space projects in the state. Not to be left behind, Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), fuelled by NRI equity, too is now smitten by the IT park bug. The profit-flush aviation company is readying to set up a Rs 600-crore IT park.

Future of Kochi City near Kochi Smart City

Kochi currently has no malls; however, by 2009, the city is expected to have 6 malls covering a built-up area of 1.60 million sq ft, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Malls like Forum (expected to have 1 million+ sq ft of space), Lulu Mall, Aerens Gold Souk, Abad Mall, Metro One, Mall O, The Summit (to be spread over 12 floors) and Kalyan Mall are being planned. There have been reports that DLF too is looking at a mall-cum-hotel project in the city, near Marine Drive.

RAK Princeton, Edappally - 20 floors

RAK Princeton, Edappally

The Summit Mall, MG Road

Peevees Group, is in the process of setting up an international style shopping and entertainment mall in Kochi at an investment of Rs 175 crore.the project will host the first cine multiplex in Kerala

Mall O, Edappally - 350,000 sqft

Metro One Mall, Kaloor - 16 floors

Aerens GoldSouk mall, Vyttila - 450,000 sqft

Swapnil Regency, Kakkanad - 30 floors

Prestige Neptune's Courtyard, Marine Drive - 18 floors

Dreams Hotel - 19 storeyed

Choice Prestige, Tripunithra (40 floors)

Cochin Media City

L&T Tejomaya Tech Park, Infopark Campus

Smart City

Park View, Convent Road - 16 floors

A hotel-cum-mall Admiral Plaza, Palarivattom - BCG builders

Spurred by UAE investments, Kerala govt woos further FDI

Smart City Kochi News

Copyright © Khaleej Times.

TRIVANDRUM — Boosted by the investments from United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala has launched a concerted effort to attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) that they opposed while out of power.

More than Rs20 billion being invested by DP World on the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam and Rs17 billion to be invested by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) on the proposed SmartCity at Kakkand are by far the largest FDI Kerala has received so far.

The state has been lagging behind many other states in the country in respect of FDI despite being one of the largest recipients of remittances from Keralite workers abroad. Remittances now constitute about 22 per cent of Kerala's domestic product.

From January 1999 to December 2005, the FDI approved for the State was Rs.12.17 billion in 184 projects, which constituted only 1.26 per cent of the total FDI approvals in the country, according to the state's economic review.

Maharashtra ranked first in the FDI list with Rs22 billion in 2629 projects followed by Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Gujarat. Kerala was in the 12th rank in getting FDI as on December 2005. The state attracted only seven foreign companies in 2005 compared to 1280 by Delhi.

While the arrival of the DP World has raised the prospect of massive investments in port-based projects, the advent of SmartCity is expected to pave way for substantial FDI in the information technology, in which the state has several distinctive advantages.

The projects spurred by the container terminal include port-based special economic zone (Rs.75 billion), LNG Terminal (Rs.30 billion), single buoy mooring (Rs.7.5 billion), petrochemical complex (Rs.35 billion) and many others. Work on some of these projects has already started.

The government is now trying to rope in foreign players to develop a similar terminal at Vizhinjam to ensure a similar investment boom in the capital district of Trivandrum. A high-level delegation that visited the Gulf countries recently discussed the project with UAE authorities.

Industry Minister Elamaram Kareem, who headed the delegation, told Khaleej Times that the UAE had evinced interest in investing in port, power and knowledge sectors. The two are in the process of setting up a joint working group to identify the projects.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan is exploring the possibility of Russian collaboration for the Vizhinjam project. He has held one round of discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian envoy to tap the 'Rupee-Rouble fund' for the infrastructure project.

The Russians have already come forward to invest in the mineral sector. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed with Russian government-owned Rosoboron Export (RoE) for producing value added products from minerals.

The government is also ready to join hands with Malaysian government for setting up a satellite city at Calicut in North Kerala. A MoU in this regard is expected to be signed next week. The project envisaging a medical city and an IT park will be a joint venture of Kerala and Malaysian governments.

The new-found zeal of the LDF government in pursuing FDI has raised eyebrows among Communist hardliners, who had opposed the FDI while in opposition. Curiously Achuthanandan was in the forefront of the campaign against FDI, saying such investments without technology will harm the state.

He had opposed the SmartCity project pursued by the previous United Democratic Front government's tenure, terming it a real estate project. But today he and his party describe the signing of the final agreement for the Smart City project as the biggest achievement of the LDF government.

Achuthanandan has apparently shed his image as a hardline Communist after he assumed office and is pursuing foreign and private investments in all key sectors to revive the state's battered economy as his West Bengal counterpart and posterboy of reforms Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee did.

The state government has set up a company called Infrastructure Kerala Limited (InKel) to attract NRI investments for developing infrastructure for hi-tech industries. The NRIs and NRI groups have offered about Rs4 billion as share capital for the venture as against Rs740 million sought by the government.

Tourism has already been attracting sizeable FDI without much effort. The latest major FDI in the sector comes from the Singapore-based Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts and the Kuwait-based Kapico Group. They have joined hands with Mini Muthoottu Group to set up a 7-star resort at Cherthala in Aleppey district at an investment of Rs1.5 billion.

The FDI is expected to give the much-needed take off Kerala looks forward to in the industrial front. The industrial growth in Kerala remained tardy and much below the national average despite the continuing efforts to make it investor-friendly.

The industrial growth was negative in 2001-02 at constant and current prices. Though there was a revival in the following two years, the growth turned negative yet again in 2004-05, but picked up in 2005-06.

According to the latest Economic Review by the State Planning Board, the average industrial growth rate for the period between 1999-2000 and 2005-06 was a meagre 1.54 per cent and from 2003-04 onwards 2.29 per cent. This was far below the national average of around 10 per cent.

No improper concessions to Tecom: Kerala CM

Latest Kochi (Cochin) Smart city News

Copyright © Khaleej Times

TRIVANDRUM — Kerala Chief Minister V S Achutanandan has dismissed the charges levelled by opposition leader Oommen Chandy against the final agreement signed by the Left Democratic Front government with Tecom for setting up the SmartCity at Cochin as part of a deliberate move to create a smoke screen.

Responding to the six questions raised by Chandy, the chief minister said that the government had not given any undue concession to the Tecom as alleged by the former. The agreement inked last week was more favourable to the state than the one finalised by the previous government.

“The lease rent we have fixed for the 234 acres of land to be given for the proposed IT project is three times more than the land price fixed by the United Democratic Front government headed by Oommen Chandy,” the Chief Minister pointed out.

Referring to Chandy’s query regarding the status of the land of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) to be given for the project, Achutanandan said that it was part of the 234 acres of land to be leased for the SmartCity.

Regarding the opposition leader’s charge about reduction of the capital base in the venture, the Chief Minister said that only the initial capital investment was brought down. The total capital investment remains at Rs.17 billion. The share capital would be to the tune of Rs.6.8 billion.

As regards Chandy’s apprehensions regarding the government stake in the venture, Achutandan said that the government should be congratulated for raising the stake from 9 per cent to 26 per cent. He pointed out that the former chief minister had settled for 9 per cent stake after giving the state-run Infopark.

He termed Chandy’s charge that the government had facilitated income tax concession to the TECOM by losing revenue worth Rs.400 million as baseless. The chief minister described the opposition leader’s question on the change effected in the agreement over the jobs to be created by the project as a big joke.

He said that the 90, 000 jobs included in the clause were direct jobs to be created by companies setting up shops in the SmartCity. Achutanandan said the questions raised by the opposition leader did not deserve any reply.

“I have sought to answer them as I did not want to show any disrespect to the opposition”, Achutanandan said adding that the final agreement was inked after careful consideration of all aspects. He said that the SmartCity would immensely benefit the state.

Ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) secretary Pinrayi Vijayan has also ridiculed the opposition leader’s charges against the project. He said that the project was given the nod with the unanimous approval of the ruling coalition.

Infosys to develop Rs3.06 billion campus: IT major Infosys Technologies Limited has unveiled its plan to develop a campus with world class working environment in the Kerala capital at an investment of Rs.3.06 billion.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of its software development centre here yesterday, K. Dinesh, co-founder of the company and member of its board, said the proposed centre would have 8000 seats.

The new centre is designed to enhance productivity and efficiency. The company has been operating out of a leased space in the Technopark with 1,100 seats for the last two years. It has invested Rs 300 million on the facility so far.

Dinesh said Infosys would create a capacity to seat 1,500 employees over the next one year.

Deal signed to set up SmartCity Kochi

© Gulf News.

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GN Archive
Ahmad Bin Byat, executive chairman of Tecom Investment and Lizzie Jacob, chief secretary of Kerala has signed the final agreement to eastablish SmartCity Kochi.

Deal signed to set up SmartCity Kochi

Thiruvananthapuram, India:The much-awaited $350 million-SmartCity Kochi project between the Government of the Indian state of Kerala and SmartCity, a joint venture between Tecom Investments and Sama Dubai was inked here on Sunday.

The project, aimed to put Kerala on the global IT map, is being signed nearly three years after it was first mooted. The agreement was inked by Ahmad Bin Byat, executive chairman of Tecom Investment, and Lizzie Jacob, chief secretary of Kerala.

Smart City, to be set up in Kochi, is a joint venture company of Tecom Investments and Sama Dubai. Speaking on the occasion, Ahmad Bin Byat said Smart City would be home to the best companies of India and abroad. "This project would certainly put Kerala on the global IT map. It would just not be the IT sector alone that would benefit but others too," said Byat.

"This is a historic ceremony and a happy occasion for me. This has materialised after long discussions and would be mutually beneficial and economically a boost for Kerala. More importantly this would strengthen the relationship between Kerala and Middle East," said a beaming Achuthanandan, chief minister of Kerala.

The project would have 8.8 million square feet of building of which 70 per cent would be for IT and IT enabled services.

Kochi will join Malta as the first two members of a global network of knowledge-based industry townships that Smart City seeks to create. Last month, SmartCity signed an agreement with the Government of Malta to establish SmartCity Malta, a business township to be located in Ricasoli, Malta.

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Dubai Internet City finally gives nod for Smart City

Dubai Internet City finally gives nod for Smart City

Thiruvananthapuram, April 13 (IANS) The Rs.15 billion ($350 million) Smart City project at Kochi will soon become reality as its developer Dubai Internet City (DIC) has finally agreed to the revised terms and conditions from the Kerala government.

The DIC through a fax to Kerala Chief Secretary Lissy Jacob has informed that they have agreed to all the conditions as laid down by the Kerala government, Joseph C. Mathew, IT advisor to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, told IANS Thursday.

"Now that the DIC has agreed to the terms of the government, I don't think there should be any more hassles. The other details like the date for inking the agreement would be worked out by the government," said Mathew.

The development is seen as a moral victory for Achuthanandan as he had earlier opposed the terms for the project worked out by the then the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government - a stance which was seen as anti-development.

As per the then chief minister Oommen Chandy's proposal, which was cleared by DIC, the already developed Infopark campus in Kochi was to be transferred to DIC.

Chandy had also agreed that no new IT park would be allowed in Ernakulam district by the government after the agreement with the DIC was inked.

Also, DIC was to create 33,000 jobs in 10 years.

After assuming power in May 2006, Achuthanadan stood his ground and after three rounds of discussion with DIC here he maintained that there would be no freehold given to DIC in the 248 acres land and the firm would have to pay Rs.1.04 billion for it.

He also insisted that Infopark would not be handed over to it and demanded an assurance for creation of 90,000 jobs.

More importantly, he also maintained DIC would have no say about other IT ventures that might come up in Kochi.

"For the past two days DIC officials were talking with government officials and the chief minister was also kept informed with the developments. Now there should be no more issues," added Mathew.

JB Group’s Rs 1,500-cr IT project for Kochi

ECONOMY BUREAU,financialexpress

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM,MAR 13: It’s a “head I win - tail I win” toss for Kochi. Enter $1.7-billion JB Group from Hong Kong to Kerala this week with a Rs 1,500-crore IT project, giving a dicey twist to Dubai Tecom drama dragging over $300-SmartCity in Kochi.

A delegation representing the Bangkok-based infrastructure player JB Group has offered an IT city in Kochi on par with the Giga Space, that JB has set up in Pune. Against Dubai Tecom’s project offering 90,000 jobs in 10 years, the new entrants have offered one lakh jobs “within 36 months of signing the pact.”

“Chief minister VS Achuthanandan was positive, when we tabled our offer, seeking 100 acres land on 99-year lease,” Gautam Kanjilal, Infiniti Consulting Corporation told reporters, here. Land on lease for 99 years had exactly been sore spot between Tecom and the LDF government in Kerala. Kanjilal claims he has the goahead to comeback “within two weeks” with feasibility and technical reports.

If the DPR (detailed project report) is accepted, we expect to sign the agreement straightaway, instead of dithering over the MoU, claims the Infiniti Consulting Corporation team.

But it’s not necessarily exit Dubai-Tecom and its SmartCity project or vice versa, assures Gautam Kanjilal. “We are not bargain-hunters,” says Kartik Somaiah, Key Account Manager (Asia Pacific).

Smart City negotiations continuing in Kerala

Courtesy Gulf News
Published: 01/03/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)
By Akhel Mathew, Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has not received any reply from Dubai's Tecom Investments in connection with the Smart City project, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan yesterday said.

Briefing reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting, he said: "Some minor issues still persist but the board of Tecom may discuss the matter and inform us later."

The chief minister had earlier announced that major issues that hampered the implementation of the ambitious project were settled during the two marathon talks held between the state government representatives and a team from Tecom, promoters of the Smart City project in the Kerala commercial capital of Kochi, a few days ago.

The chief minister had gone a step further asserting that the spectre of the project slipping out of Kerala had vanished. He had claimed that a consensus would be reached before the assembly session to be held tomorrow.

After numerous occasions that gave the impression that the project might go to Karnataka or Andhra Pardesh which were trying to woo Tecom, the latest roadblock the project has hit is the Kerala Government's stand on the Dubai party's demand for land freehold (holding of the project land for life).

Smartcity: Kerala moves closer to clinching deal


Feb 27, 2007
Smartcity: Kerala moves closer to clinching deal


T'PURAM: Kerala on Monday moved closer to clinching a deal with Dubai-based TECOM on setting up smartcity it park in Kochi with both the sides sorting out differences over most issues.

The crucial round of talks began on Sunday. Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said a definite picture was expected to emerge in a day or two as the executives of technology and media free zone authority (TECOM) would give final word tomorrow after clarifying certain points with its board of directors.

The government was optimistic of arriving at an agreement before the state assembly's budget session beginning on March two, as a consensus had been reached in most of the issues, he told reporters.

The tecom team led by its executive director Farid Abdul Rahman also expressed optimism on reaching an agreement.

The Rs 1600 crore smartcity proposal, promising to create thousands of jobs, came up when the UDF was in power but it could not materialise as the assembly polls were announced before the negotiations were concluded.

The LDF, which was in opposition then, had objected to the state agreeing to some of the conditions made by tecom at that time, especially its demand that the existing infopark in Kochi be handed over to it.

Ever since it resumed the negotiations on coming to power, the LDF Government persistently rejected tecom's demand for infopark. The government later succeeded in bringing the promoter round on this vital issue.

News Courtesy "New Ind Press"

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The SmartCity