Kerala, TECOM getting ready for SmartCity Kochi meeting on March 16

The proposal for the Rs15bn SmartCity, a knowledge township in Kochi, has received a fresh impetus with both Kerala and Dubai officials reciprocating their keenness to pull the project out of limbo.

Both sides are getting ready for the next director board meeting scheduled for March 16.

Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan’s statement in the State Assembly the other day, doubting that the global meltdown might hamper the project, had put off Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) officials since they felt the delay had really been on account of cumbersome procedures in Kerala.

Reacting to the statement, Smart City CEO Fareed Abdul Rehman told reporters in Dubai last week that he did not know teh basis of Chief Minister’s apprehensions.

The financial meltdown had not affected the project and the groundwork and design of project were progressing well.

That phase of mutual doubts is apparently over. Both Kerala Cooperation Minister S Sarma and Fareed Abdul Rehman welcomed statements on either side.

Sarma said today that doors were open for TECOM and they could approach the State Government any time for the land registration process.

He was awaiting the arrival of TECOM officials and there were no hurdles to registering the land for the SmartCity project in the name of TECOM.

Reportedly, Rehman also promptly welcomed the Kerala Government statement that it was ready to initiate the registration process anytime and that the formalities could be completed in ten minutes.

Reciprocating Sarma’s statement that there would be no delay in signing the deal, Rehman said there would be no delay from their side too.

SmartCity chief executive officer Fareed Abdulrahman has described as a landmark the recent announcement by Fisheries and Registration Minister S. Sarma “about the Government of Kerala’s readiness to sign the fresh lease without any further delay.”

He has said that SmartCity is “all geared up to sign the lease agreement which is the critical step towards registering” the 246 acres (99 hectares) of land in totality and securing the special economic zone (SEZ) status for the project.

A statement issued in Dubai on Sunday said SmartCity would seek an appointment with Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan in the coming days to update him about the progress of the project and bestow “clarity” on recent developments. Mr. Abdulrahman would be accompanied by a high-level team from SmartCity.

“ At the outset we would like to thank the Government of Kerala for their reassurance that there will be no further delay in getting SmartCity Kochi under way,” Mr Abdulrahman said.

“We are certain that the Government of Kerala has kept the spirit of the Framework Agreement in the suggestions we have put across for the leases and look forward to being in Kerala soon to sign the leases and step on the accelerator to fulfil the vision of Kochi and its people.”

“Today we stand at a time when the world economy is on the verge of a downturn. Despite this, we are going to witness the rise of SmartCity Kochi, which translates the vision of Kochi into an IT/ITeS destination,” he added.

The project has been “on the discussion board due to various procedural bottlenecks since the Framework Agreement was signed between SmartCity and the Government of Kerala in May 2007,” the statement noted.

“Technical issues pertaining to the unresolved aspects” had held up the signing of the lease agreement. The key issues related to the “adding” of “un-acquired patta land” of 19 cents (0.08 hectare) located at the centre of a land measuring 114 acres (46 hectares), incorporating a clause pertaining to 12 per cent freehold land, and SmartCity’s request for signing the leases for 132 acres (53 hectares) and 114 acres together to secure a total of 246 acres simultaneously.

“The clauses pertaining to the 12 per cent freehold land is not a new topic and it is already in the broader Framework Agreement,” the statement said. “SmartCity has requested the Government of Kerala to incorporate the necessary clauses in the new lease agreement” before it is finalised for registration and signing.

The statement noted that a consensus had been reached on the sharing of cost and relocation of the Kerala State Electricity Board installations and a Public Works Department road. The government had announced that SmartCity would be exempted from payment of stamp duty. At the previous Board of Directors’ meeting, it was decided that once SEZ status was obtained for the 132-acre and 114-acre tracts, SmartCity and the government would jointly try to secure a “single SEZ status” for the project.

Kerala Fisheries and Registration Minister S. Sarma has said that there are no hurdles in registering the land for the proposed SmartCity Kochi project in the name of Tecom, the promoters of the project.

Talking to presspersons here on Saturday, Mr. Sarma, who is also the chairman of the SmartCity Kochi project, said the State government was ready to initiate the registration process anytime as desired by Tecom. He said the formalities could be completed in 10 minutes once the promoters approached the government.

Mr. Sarma said it was the responsibility of Tecom to undertake steps for registration as per an agreement.


Global Economic Crisis will not affect smartcity kochi project:Tecom CEO of Tecom Farid Rahman said that smart city project will not be affected. He was contradicting Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan's statements regarding the delay of Smartcity project. The the delay of the Smart City project is due to the laid back attitude of the State Government. He said the company had made huge investments and will go ahead in implementing the project.

The main reason for the delay was land issues, registration and SEZ status for the area.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan had said that the lease agreement with Tecom on Smart City has got lapsed as per the Indian Registration Act. Steps are being taken to sign a fresh agreement, he told the Assembly.


KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is coming to Kochi (Cochin)

KFC would be opening in The Gold Souk mall Kochi

The Gold Souk mall Kochi

The full-blown prolonged global recession could even not spare the Rs.15 billion pet project of the LDF government, informed Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan in the assembly. He said, the State Government has done whatever it could for the project, now the Dubai-based Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) has to do the rest.

The project once completed would cover one million square metres of land with a built-up space of 8.8 million sqft creating an infrastructure and environment for the knowledge-based industry to grow and flourish along the lines of the successful models of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City.

The project was expected to generate employment opportunities in the areas of administration, hospitality, consultancy, construction, tourism, retail and logistics among others. major global and national players.


The Gold Souk mall Kochi

The Gold Souk mall KochiThe Souk, Kochi, with 5,00,000 square feet of retail space is the discerning shoppers ultimate getaway. Being the first and largest mall in the commercial capital of Kerala, it has been exclusively zoned to provide a state-of-the-art shopping experience to Keralites, shoppers from neighbouring cities and the large NRI population. The Souk, Kochi has been designed by W.S. Atkins, the designer of the famed Burj-al-Arab, Dubai.

Other Highlights

• Kerala’s biggest mall
• Startegically located on Vyttilla Junction in Kochi
• Features Gold Souk, Lifestyle Retail, Multiplex & Food Court
• To be operational by Quarter 3, 2008

Location Map of The Souk, Kochi

Location Map of The Souk, Kochi

Kochi Infopark expansion, Kerala CM lays foundation stone

Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today laid the foundation stone for the second phase of expansion of Kochi Infopark and new IT building Athulya, the proposed IT complex with a built up area of 5.5 lakh sq ft at nearby Kakkanad.
Achuthanandan said that for the second phase expansion of Infopark, an additional 160 acre of land has already been acquired. The expansion is planned in such a way that about 50,000 people will have employment opportunity, he said.

"The government recognises that there is a lot of potential in IT sector despite the global financial crisis,"he said, adding the government had taken steps to start IT parks in various districts in the state. Construction work for IT parks in Cherthala and Ambalapuzha in Alappuzha distrit will be started very soon and Master Plan for both the places have already been prepared, he said.

Work on basic infrastructure development has already begun for an IT park at Koratty in Thrissur district. For starting IT parks in north Kerala, a Cyberpark in the model of technopark and Infopark will be developed, he said.

The bottlenecks faced with regard to the construction of SmartCity IT project in Kochi city will be resolved soon and the construction work will start at the earliest, he said.

Today&aposs event would be a curtain raiser to a series of launch events that the state would witness over the next few weeks aimed at achieving improvement in the states IT infrastructure, Siddhartha Bhattacharya, CEO, Infopark said.


The SmartCity