Smart city Kochi : Talks to continue Thursday

Talks to solve the Smart city project would continue on Thursday as well. Smart City CEO Fareed Abduraham looks positive after the talks on Wednesday. The main issue was the 12 percent freehold land demanded by TECOM. The Government stated that some of the demands by TECOM were not convincing. After Wednesday's talk, the government sector feels that fresh talks may prove fruitful. For the government, minister S Sarma, IT secretary Ajayakumar, CM's principal secretary Sheela Thomas, chief secretary Neela Gangadharan and law secretary participated. The meet which began at 11 am concluded by noon.

Smart city: Crucial talks begin

Thiruvananthapuram: The crucial talk between the state government and Smart City officials to take forward the proposed Smart City Kochi software township project, began here on Wednesday.

On Tuesday chief minsiter V S Achuthanandan said that the existing lease agreement with TECOM that was signed long ago has expired and a new agreement will have to be worked out, and for that talks will resume on Wednesday with them here,' said Achuthanandan.

The chief minister had laid the foundation stone of the Rs.1,500-crore ($316-million) IT township project Nov 16, 2007, but there has been no progress since then.

In June, the Dubai firm said it had withdrawn a contract given to the Britain-based master planner Collin Buchanan to develop the Kochi project.

The statement had come two weeks after it requested the state government to ensure 12 percent of the project land be made freehold.

'Yes, we are committed to the 12 percent freehold aspect but some of their other demands are not that convincing. But nevertheless whatever we can resolve through talks we will do,' added Achuthanandan who also handles the IT portfolio.

The proposed project, to be jointly launched by the state government and Smart City Dubai, is slated to come up on a 246-acre plot with 8.8 million square feet of built-up space, of which 70 percent is earmarked for IT and IT-enabled services.

The government has given a special economic zone status for 136 acres of the project.

But it has neither completed the registration of the land nor settled a contentious stamp duty issue.

Meanwhile, in a statement Tuesday, the Dubai firm said a company team would arrive at Thiruvanathapuram to hold discussions with the state's chief secretary.

'The meeting will focus on the pending issues causing setbacks to the development of Smart City Kochi,' said the statement.

'Once the pending issues are resolved, the planning and operational activities will be intensified. We are fully committed to the project,' the Dubai firm said.

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