Turning hate into love, the ‘smart’ way

Smart City. The very name of the project used to irk the LDF combine as a whole.

The aversion V S Achuthanandan, the then Opposition leader, had towards the massive infrastructure development project for information technology was well known to everybody.

Even the former IT secretary dared not include the Smart City project in his maiden presentation of the IT roadmap before the Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.

However, months later, when the criticism against the lackadaisical approach of the government towards the Smart City proposal went up, the LDF government woke from its slumber and asked the officials to talk with the investors.

The state government officials held talks with the representatives of the Dubai Internet City, the promoters of the Smart City project.

Still, V S Achuthanandan claimed he did not change in his belief that the promoters of the mammoth project proposed in Kochi are best known for real-estate business.

They don’t have any impressive expertise in running IT businesses.

However, the LDF government was committed to bring development to the State and would attract investors who are willing to go by the strict norms set by the government, they said.

By the time, several other claims of the LDF, when they were in the opposition, against the investors disappeared and the same promoters were showcased as the direct envoys from the Dubai Government.

After several rounds of negotiations between the government representatives and the Dubai-based firm, most of the contentious issues were buried alive.

In a bid to win an old political bet, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and his technology attendants spend more time and energy in proving the UDF agreement wrong before the public, than making any substantial changes that might have made the project agreement more beneficial to the State.

The 99-year lease and full rights over the Infopark stood tall among the other victories the LDF government won for Kerala.

But little was said about the last minute changes in the final agreement .

As per the latest agreement, the TECOM shall make only “best efforts to make 90,000 job opportunities”.

Let’s pray for all success to the TECOM initiative, though the company is yet to come out with a masterplan for the Rs 1500 crore project.

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