Arbitration will be our last resort: Smart City Dubai

The deadlock between the Kerala government and Smart City Dubai continued over the fate of the proposed Rs.1,500 crore Smart City Kochi project, with the latter making it clear that arbitration would be their last resort.

As expected, the 23rd board meeting of Smart City Kochi held here Friday, ended in 20 minutes only with no decision taken on the contentious issue of giving 12 percent free hold rights to Smart City Dubai - the builders of the project.

In the post-meeting press conference, the two parties continued to stick to their respective stands.

"What matters to us is to maintain good relations and hence we expect that a solution will come out. The question of going legal or to an arbitrator is our last resort," said Smart City Dubai and Smart City Kochi CEO Fareed Abdulrahman.

He also clarified that UAE-based businessman M.A. Yousuf Ali, who held talks with them, is not a mediator but only a government representative.

However, Smart City Kochi chairman and State Fisheries Minister S. Sarma said: "The talks between Ali and Smart City Dubai is progressing well. But the government, under no cost, will deviate from the policy decision that no land in the project can be sold. We expect that in two weeks time, we will get a reply from them."

It was more than three years back that the foundation stone for the project was laid and since then no progress has been made over the issue of granting 12 percent free hold rights to the builders outside of the 246 acres of the proposed project site.
The Dubai based builders Tecom has made made it clear that it would wait for only another two months for the state government's nod to go ahead wth the Kochi Smart City project.

Fareed Abdul Rahman CEO of Smart City project said that it involves crores of rupees and if no progress is made in this regard within two months legal steps would be pursued. He was talking to reporters here Friday before the board of directors' meeting.

Abdul Rahman said that M A Yusuf Ali is not a mediator for the issues related to Smart City project. He is a representative of the government. The government used the word 'representative', he insisted.

He said that he is ready to hold talks with Yusuf Ali in his capacity as a representative. A mediator should be a person who is acceptable to both the parties and he should be selected through a joint discussion held between the two parties. Nothing of that sort has happened, he said.
Smartcity Kochi Directors meeting December 2010The Smart City Board of Directors meeting will take place tomorrow at Kochi. Smart City CEO Fareed Abdul Rahman and the newly appointed IT Secretary K Suresh Kumar will take part in the meeting.

This was the first meeting after Yousaf Ali had been appointed as the mediator by the State Government to hold talks with TECOM on the Smart City project.

K Suresh Kumar IAS is the new Secretary of Kerala Department of IT

K Suresh Kumar, a 1989 batch Kerala Cadre IAS Officer has been appointed as the new Secretary of the Department of Information Technology, Government of Kerala. He replaces Dr. Ajay Kumar IAS, Principal Secretary (IT) who is joining the Department of IT at the Centre as Joint Secretary.

Suresh Kumar, more popularly known as Chief Minister Shri V S Achuthanandan’s ‘Man Friday’, has been brought in to untangle the mess of the proposed SmartCity Kochi project. Incidentally, the CM also holds the IT portfolio.

Suresh is known for courting controversies in most his previous postings in the State.

His role as the Team Leader of the Munnar demolition mission had earned the wrath of the CPM State Secretariat. His appointment by the CM is sure to ruffle the feathers of the CPM State leadership.

Suresh was the Secretary, Official Languages prior to this posting. He has also been the MD of the State Cooperative Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development; Director of Fisheries and also District Collector, Wayanad.


Kerala CM still optimistic on Kochi Smart city project

Kerala CM - Smartcity KochiState Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan has today expressed optimism on the successful implementation of the much awaited Smart city project in Kochi. Speaking to the media persons in Thiruvananthapuram today, VS opined that the smart city project would be implemented without providing any free hold land right.

While State Fisheries Minister and Smart City Chairman S Sarma had earlier informed that the talks held between MA Yousaf Ali and Tecom authorities, in connection with the Smart City project will be briefed to Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.

The next Cabinet meeting would discuss the chances of the project after the discussion with CM, Sarma said. Ali held two rounds of talks with the authorities of TECOM.
Earlier, Tecom CEO Fareed Abdul Rahman stated that they were interested to implement the project as per the existing agreement and said they have informed their stand to Ali.

Kochi Gold and Diamond Park

Kochi Gold and Diamond Park, KalamasseryDelhi-based Aerens Gold Souk International today said it is setting up a 33-acre Gold and Diamond Park at a cost of Rs 450 crore at nearby Kalamassery. The park is conceived as a landmark for jewellery manufacturers, retailers, artisans, exporters and wholesalers to interact, network, source and promote business prospects, a company release said Thursday.

Aerens Gold Souk International Vice-Chairman and Joint Managing Director Ashish Gupta said the manufacturing facility at the park will be ready by September 2011 and it may take three more years to complete the project.

The new venture will help facilitate standardisation in the industry, creation of products that are acceptable in international markets, provide steady employment opportunities and make available latest technologies with a view to preserving Kerala's traditional jewellery industry.

"Encouraged by the success of the Gold Souk Grande mall in Kochi, we plan to set up two more malls at Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode with an investment of Rs 150 crore each. The company has spent Rs 100 crore for the Kochi project," he said. Aerens Gold Souk Group is a four decade old diversified conglomerate that has interests in real estate, retail, entertainment and hospitality sectors.

Vyttila Mobility HubVyttila Mobility Hub is an integrated transit terminal in the city of Kochi.. It is designed as a converging point of various forms of public transportation, such as local and long distance buses, metro rail and water transport. The first phase, consisting of the terminal for long distance buses and the basic amenities, started construction in December, 2010. When fully implemented, it will have facility to integrate all modes of public transportation, as well as for shopping, entertainment and hospitality.

The tenders for the construction of first phase has been granted to Nagarjuna constructions from among seven companies which submitted tenders. The selection was on account of quoting the lowest amount for the execution of the project and the first phase of the project be completed by February 2011. After completion it will be largest bus terminus in the Kerala state and third largest in South India.

Work on Vytilla mobility hub inaugurated
Map of Vyttila Mobility HubState Fisheries Minister S. Sarma inaugurated the construction work of Vytila Mobility Hub in Kochi today. The project aims at solving a good share of commuting problems in the city by creating amenities in and around the Vytilla Junction, by integrating different modes of transport like roadways, metro rail, railways and waterways.

From Vytilla, public transport systems can provide connectivity with the western and eastern parts of the city, West Kochi, and also regional hubs like Vypeen, Palarivattom, Kakkanad, Thripunithura and Aroor. Vytilla is also well- connected with National Highways 47, 17 and 49, the seaport and the airport.

The proposed metro rail passes through the junction and National Waterway III is located close by. By basing operations in Vytilla, the KSRTC and private buses would be able to save huge amounts on fuel, apart from the time saved in not entering the city. Thus, the Vytilla mobility hub has evolved as a natural remedy and is envisioned as a long-term solution to Kochi’s transporting problems.
State Fisheries Minister and Smart City Chairman S Sarma today said that the talks held between MA Yousaf Ali and Tecom authorities, in connection with the Smart City project will be briefed to Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.

The Cabinet will discuss the chances of the project after the discussion with CM, Sarma said. Ali held two rounds of talks with the authorities of TECOM.
Earlier, Tecom CEO Fareed Abdul Rahman stated that they were interested to implement the project as per the existing agreement and said they have informed their stand to Ali.

Meantime, Yousaf Ali said that he will hold talks with the Chief Minister on Saturday.

Kerala keen to take Kochi Smart City project forward

Kerala govt for citizen-oriented IT policy.

The Kerala government is making earnest efforts to realise the SmartCity project in Kochi, promoted as a joint venture with the Dubai-based Tecom, said Fisheries Minister S Sarma here today.

Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of India ICT Summit-2010, Sarma, who is also the chairman of SmartCity, said the government welcomed mediatory role played by MA Yousuf Ali, director of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to resolve the differences of opinion between Tecom and state government.
He however declined to comment on the details or conditions of talks between Yousuf Ali and Tecom representatives.

Inaugurating the conference, Sarma said the state was now ideally placed for rapid development of the IT sector. The IT industry in Kerala has registered significant growth in exports during the last few years. The exports grew to Rs 2,412 crore in 2009-10 from Rs 141 crore in 2001-02.

He also stressed the need for a common man-friendly IT policy in the state. “The state needs an IT policy which should bring the welfare services of the government to the common people. The IT sector needs to have an orientation towards the common people.”

Delivering the keynote address, Ajay Kumar, principal secretary (IT), said Kerala’s contribution to the national IT export basket has increased from one percent to two percent now. Small and medium IT industries have a major role to address the rural and domestic markets. According to him, availability of land is the major advantage for Kerala, regarding the development of IT parks.

S Mahalingam, executive director and CFO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), stressed the need to assess the preparedness of the industry for the changing technological trends. He said TCS has plans to recruit 35,000 people from campuses next year. “We have a detailed plan for expansion and we will be hiring more people as part of the expansion programme,” he added.

IT services major Infosys Technologies managing director and CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan said the state is emerging as an attractive and investor friendly location. Kerala need to focus on theme-based IT parks. “If we can focus on a particular theme for each of the upcoming IT parks, it can attract more entrepreneurs of that particular industry. It is more of creating clusters or embedded systems of industries”, he added.

Gopalakrishnan also suggested that Kerala create a unique brand about the quality of life offered for the employees in the IT sector. “With its natural beauty and unique concepts like Ayurveda, the state can easily create a unique brand, which can attract high spending IT employees”.

Kerala Government received a reply from TECOM

The government today received a reply from TECOM, the promoters of the SmartCity project. Tecom’s letter stated that they are keen in implementing the proposed project. Tecom has stated this in a press release handed over to the media.

TECOM has invited government delegates along with Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan for further talks if they are interested in the project. They invited the chief minister for holding talks in Dubai. Tecom further added that they were keen to solve the difference in opinion for the much awaited Smart city project in Kochi.

TECOM, the promoters of the project, has been asking for 12% freehold land right whereby they will even be able to sell the land. TECOM had announced that jobs would be offered to 90,000 persons, when the project is ready. But, so far not even a single person has obtained any job. They are delaying the project by raising unnecessary things.

As of now, Smart City project is clouded by uncertainties. If it fails, then it could bring about a big loss, both in money-wise and employment-wise and the sole responsibility will be the politics in Kerala.
The Kerala government is all set to handover a letter again to the Tecom company as a final warning for clarifying its stance regarding the much awaited Smart city project in Kochi. The decision was taken in the cabinet meeting held today.

TECOM, the promoters of the project, has been asking for 12% freehold land right whereby they will even be able to sell the land. TECOM had announced that jobs would be offered to 90,000 persons, when the project is ready. But, so far not even a single person has obtained any job. They are delaying the project by raising unnecessary things.

As of now, Smart City project is clouded by uncertainties. If it fails, then it could bring about a big loss, both in money-wise and employment-wise and the sole responsibility will be the politics in Kerala.

NRI consortium gives hope for Smart City Kochi project

NRI consortium Smart City Kochi projectAmidst widespread rumours regarding the state government withdrawing from the agreement on the Smart City project with Tecom, an Abu Dhabi-based NRI consortium has come forward eyeing the project.

With the Smart City project getting delayed for a long time, the state government is considering alternatives. The NRI consortium stands a better chance as the controversial clause of ‘freehold’ does not figure in their wish list.
Sources in the NRI team confirmed that they have already held a discussion in this regard with certain officials. The team plans to meet the state government officials and will communicate to the government that they are ready to invest according to the terms of reference set by the government.

Sources said the consortium has already consulted a firm experienced in setting up special economic zones (SEZs) in India. According to the firm’s advice, the consortium has decided to prepare a business proposal. A sum of `1 crore has been set apart to conduct a study with a firm called KPMG, in Abu Dhabi. A detailed feasibility report (DFR) will be prepared on various aspects of the project.
“When a Union Minister visited Abu Dhabi, the NRI team expressed its interest to invest in the Smart City project if the agreement between the state government and Tecom does not work. It was based on the minister’s instruction that we contacted the office of Registration Minister S Sarma and the SEZ office in Kochi. We have already formed a core group to deal with the project,” sources in the Abu Dhabi team told Express.

According to the initial concept, the draft report will be prepared by March 2011. “We need to identify a co-developer. The financial model will be finalised by May 2011 and a potential financial partner will be identified. A report will be submitted to the state government by June 2011. The land acquisition will be made by the end of the year,” the sources said.

The team is planning a public issue of shares through the stock market. The project cost has been fixed at `2,100 crore, of which half the amount will be bank loans. The team is looking for development without sales rights.
The concept began when some of the members of the consortium met at an alumni meet in Kerala.
“We communicated with others who had similar interests. A company has not been registered yet as we are planning to take a final decision after the feasibility study,” sources said. A final picture on the initiative taken by the consortium will be made by June 2011.

Highly placed sources said two business magnates from Kerala who have already established vast business networks in India and abroad are also behind the initiative.

With discussions between the government and Tecom reaching a dead end, the NRI consortium is hopeful of taking over the project.
The KSEB has claimed that it has not constructed any structures as part of the proposed 1026-mW gas-based power plant at Brahmapuram on the 100 acres of land that was to have been handed over to SmartCity.

Sources in SmartCity had alleged that some unauthorised construction was being carried out in the land proposed to be allotted to it.

KSEB official said that the board had not made any civil works in connection with the power project as it was still on the drawing table. Even the foundation stone for the project had not been laid; hence there was no question of building any structures as part of the project now.

Skycity Kochi

What is Skycity Kochi Project?
Skycity Kochi / Cochin - KeralaYasoram Skycity is a Flyover, designed with the prime intention of reducing traffic in Kochi City and for boosting tourism and economic activity of the region.

The Skycity will extend from Kundannoor near NH 47 Byepass in the south to Sahodaran Ayyappan Road in the north, passing above the Chilavannoor Bund Road and the Backwaters. Another stretch of the Skycity will extend from the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road to the Subhash Chandrabose Road

  • Flyover bridge that runs 30 ft above land and backwaters
  • 3 storied shopping complexes, residential apartments and commercial hubs
  • Supermarkets, community halls, entertainment multiplexes, restaurants, hotels, garment and jewellery showrooms, two and three wheeler automobile showrooms etc.
  • Corporate offices, business centres, IT/ITES and BPO operations, Banking and financial institutions etc.
  • Amusement centres, health centres, water sports facility, oceanarium, theme park
  • 12 m wide 4 lane expressway
  • 5 m wide car parking on both sides of the road and additional car parking on the building top – facility can accomodate 7,500 cars in all
  • 2 m wide footpaths on both sides
  • 6.6 m wide building on base floor and 8.6 m wide building on the first and second floors on both sides
  • Cable car at an 80 ft height offering panoramic view of Kochi city

Skycity Kochi

Sobha Hi-Tech City:Rs 5,000 cr Kochi project on course

Sobha Hi-Tech CityBangalore-based realty major Sobha Developers has said its Rs 5,000 crore hi-tech city project in Kochi is delayed as the company is awaiting clearances from the central government.

While necessary state approvals are in, the clearances from the Centre under the Coastal Regulation Management Act and environmental clearances are yet to be attained, Sobha Developers senior official Mr Mathew Francis said. The mega project was to come up at Maradu village on Kochi outskirts.

“On receipt of these clearances only, the master plan for the project can be submitted for final approval,” Mr Francis, who is the area head, said.

Way back in August 2007, Sobha had inked an MoU with Kerala to build a Rs 5,000 crore ‘Sobha Hi-Tech City’ The pact involved the company developing a 400 acre and the state had agreed to bring the project under single-window clearance, besides agreeing t o provide electricity, gas, water, sewerage system, telecom etc.

The project would offer seven million sqft of knowledge park, shopping malls and avenues, hotels, resorts and leisure and entertainment facilities, residential complexes and all related infrastructure including world-class marina.

On completion, the ‘Sobha Hi-Tech City’ is expected generate 75,000 direct jobs. The project was initially proposed to be completed in eight years.

On the heels of company selling its 50 acres in prime Pune IT corridor for Rs 114 crore, a section of media has reported that the company was thinking of monetising the huge swathe of land near the commercial capital of Kerala.

Dismissing these reports as baseless, Mr Francis said that the company is not abandoning the mega project.

If stayed on course, this would be one of the largest investments in the otherwise investment-starved Kerala.

Meanwhile, the first phase of Sobha City in neighbouring Thrissur is is already complete, Mr Francis said.

The Sobha City spans over 55 acres and consists of 18 lakh sq ft of residential space and over five lakh sq ft of commercial space. The group has 80 acres of land in Thrissur and it is awaiting government approval for the remaining 25 acres.

Mr Francis said the company reported a two-fold jump in net profit at Rs 58.9 crore for the quarter ended September. - PTI

The Congress’s Kerala unit Thursday demanded that the proposed Rs.1,500-crore Smart City Kochi mega IT project should go ahead with the participation of the Dubai government.

Addressing reporters here, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy said this project has to go ahead with the Dubai government because it is an international venture.

“If the state government does anything without them, then it is not going to be a Smart City. This project has been hanging fire for a few years now, and knowing the importance of this mega project, we had offered our full support to see that this project becomes a reality,” he said.

Chandy’s reaction came after the V.S. Achuthanandan-led Left Front government Tuesday announced that very soon it will decide on the fate of the project and would not hesitate to go ahead with the project without Smart City Dubai.

The first round of talks between the Kerala government and TECOM, the venture of the Dubai government which had set up Smart City Dubai, took place between 2004-06 when Chandy was the chief minister, and it was near the end of his tenure that the proposal for Smart City Kochi was inked.

But following stiff opposition from the then leader of opposition V.S.Achuthanandan, who contended that Smart City Dubai had no experience in IT and was merely a real estate company, Chandy did not go ahead with the project - even after the Kerala High Court gave him the green signal.

But Achuthanandan, after becoming the chief minister in 2006, inked the proposal again with Smart City Dubai in 2007, just ahead of the first anniversary of his government.

Three years later and after 22 director board meetings of Smart City Kochi, the Kerala government has been adamant that under no circumstances can the freehold property, which Smart City Dubai will be getting for the project, be sold.

Smart City Dubai is sticking to the agreement which accords to it 12 percent freehold rights.
Smart City Kochi: Kerala to take final decision Tuesday (16th November 2010)Fisheries Minister S. Sarma Monday said that the state Cabinet will take the final decision on the Smart City project in Kochi.

The government doesn't agree with the demand of Dubai-based firm TECOM for free hold land, he said.

The stands taken by the company are not in tune with the agreements signed by the two parties, he said.

Sarma, talking to the newspersons here, said that the company stands firm by its demand for having free hold on 12 per cent of the land as it was reiterated in a recently received letter too.

TECOM inaugurate first office building at SmartCity Malta

TECOM inaugurate first office building at SmartCity MaltaTECOM Investments, a member of Dubai Holding, has achieved a major milestone with the official inauguration of the first office building (SCM01) at SmartCity Malta. The dedicated IT business park is TECOM Investments' first overseas venture undertaken by SmartCity, TECOM Investments' international business parks developer.

Among those attending the inauguration were Malta's Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt, Dubai Holding CEO Ahmad Bin Byat, TECOM Investments' Group CEO Abdullatif AlMulla, and SmartCity Chief Executive Officer Fareed Abdulrahman.

Speaking at the inauguration, Dr Gonzi said: "We are today witnessing the beginning of a renaissance for Malta and for our economy. SCM01 is yet another symbol of Malta's investment attractiveness, strong economic fundamentals and potential. This is the realisation of a dream. A dream that sees Malta become a regional and global player in ICT."

The SmartCity Malta model is based on TECOM Investments' successful business parks, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village.

Bin Byat said SmartCity Malta is a testimony to the strong bond that exists between TECOM Investments and the Maltese government. He added: "Our joint intention is to develop SmartCity Malta into a major new centre of excellence for knowledge based companies. I believe SmartCity Malta will make a significant contribution to Malta's economy, by opening up new development avenues, specifically in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors."

The delivery of the 12,000 square metres of office space, three years after the announcement of the ambitious project, marks the end of the first phase of the construction of SmartCity Malta.

AlMulla said: "This is the first international project to become operational for TECOM Investments. I am confident this is the first of many projects we will launch worldwide. SmartCity Malta will help to facilitate UAE-based companies expansion into Europe, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai."

SmartCity Malta is the centerpiece of Malta's transformation from an old economy based on low-cost manufacturing to a new economy based on information and communication technology (ICT). It will generate 5,600 jobs and create more than 105,000 sq m of office space for ICT, media companies and related services.

The entire development is designed to enable knowledge-based companies to maximize their growth potential. While companies will benefit from high-quality infrastructure and support systems, knowledge workers will gain an ideal environment to work, network, and exchange ideas and industry information.


SmartCity Kochi project not shelved, says CEO

SmartCity Kochi project, the planned IT township in the Indian state of Kerala to be developed by SmartCity, a subsidiary of Tecom Investments, has not been shelved, the head of SmartCity has said.

SmartCity Kochi is a joint venture between SmartCity and the Government of Kerala, spread on an area of 246 acres.

“The project has not been shelved. However, there are a lot of documentation and formalities that have to be finished before we start the project. For example, since the project is planned to be a Special Economic Zone [SEZ], SmartCity has to fulfill various criteria. Once we meet these criteria we’ll be able to get an SEZ status,” Fareed Abdulrahman, CEO, SmartCity, Dubai, told Emirates 24|7.

However, he said there are many issues that need to be sorted out.

“For instance, there is the issue of SEZ. As part of the agreement between SmartCity and the Government of Kerala signed on May 13, 2007, there has to be only one SEZ in the project, but later it was rejected and we were told that we’ve to split one SEZ into two or three SEZs,” he said.

Additionally, Abdulrahman said there is the issue of freehold land rights that was made clear in the framework agreement, but now the authorities are in denial mode of providing the freehold rights to us.

There are other issues as well such as stamp duty exemption, shifting of the PWD (public works department) road that has to be shifted so that we can apply for an SEZ status, since SEZ land has to be devoid of any construction or structure.

However, Abdulrahman added: “Negotiations are underway between us and the Government of Kerala to remove the hurdles and start the project. We have put forward a number of suggestions and proposals to the authorities in Kerala on how to move ahead towards resolving these issues, but we’re yet to receive a positive response. From our side, the responses have been positive and we remain committed to the project.”

SmartCity is a global network of self-sustained townships for knowledge-based industries based on the model of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village. Currently, SmartCity’s projects are SmartCity Malta and SmartCity Kochi. Phase I of SmartCity Malta was launched on October 10.

“Soon we’re going to start the Phase II of the project after the tender process gets over and after we get a few permits,” Abdulrahman said.

In Kochi, he said, SmartCity has so far invested in land acquisition, master-planning and the design of the project.

“Additionally, we’ve finished the fencing of the entire project land and are also marketing the project even though the project has not started,” he added.

Asked when does he believe the project will take off, he said: “As far as we’re concerned, we expect that by the first half of next year the project has to start. We are of the belief that India has a lot of potential and we don’t believe there are any choices left before us.”

“We’re committed to finish off one SmartCity project, deliver it, and then move to building another such project in other Indian cities,” he added.


Tecom successfully launched Smartcity Malta

Tecom successfully launched  Smartcity MaltaEven as the stalemate over Kerala's mega IT infrastructure project SmartCity Kochi gets more complex, Tecom, the enstranged investment partner of the project, has successfully launched a similar project in Malta.

SmartCity Malta (SCM) was inaugurated in Ricasoli by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi on Sunday with the chief executive officer of Dubai Holding Ahmad Bin Byat and Tecom Investment Group's CEO Abdullatif Al Mulla also present.

The first phase of SCM will have 12,000 sqm of office space targeted at international, regional and local companies, according to a company release.

Meanwhile, the fate of SmartCity Kochi project hangs in the balance with the state government and Tecom each sticking to their positions.

The state government had issued an ultimatum to Tecom in June with a view to terminate the contract with the Dubai company and ultimately to expel it from the project. The government had prepared the letter after hectic legal consultations in order to avoid loopholes in it.

In a recent reply to the letter, Tecom has said that it has a real interest in commencing the project and has no plans to back out of it. The state fisheries minister and chairman of the joint venture company between the Kerala government and Tecom, S Sharma said that the cabinet would discuss the reply and take an appropriate decision.

From the events so far, it is clear that the government's intention is to end its association with Tecom. The minister said that Tecom had only business interests in the project, and that the Dubai company was deliberately exploiting the interest of the people of Kerala in the project.

The differences between the two partners centre on Tecom's demand for a freehold of 12 per cent of the total 240 acres of the project site with a right to sell. Sharma said this was against the framework agreement between the government and Tecom, and the government could not accept this additional condition.

Since the state is now election mode with local body elections set for October 23 and 25, a decision on the reply sent by Tecom is expected only after the elections. Interestingly, this is a hot issue in the campaigns of both LDF and UDF, particularly in Ernakulam district.

Tecom sent a letter responding to Government of Kerala's letter

Tecom sent a letter responding to Government of Kerala's letter Regarding Smartcity Kochi



SmartCity, the Dubai-based promoters of the proposed knowledge hub project in the city, has replied to the letter the State government had sent earlier this month. A post on the company's twitter account stated that “SmartCity [has] sent a letter responding to Government of Kerala's letter.” The letter had reportedly asked the promoters to reply within 15 days. SmartCity authorities, however, had asked for time. Fisheries Minister S. Sarma, who is also the Chairman of SmartCity Kochi, could not be contacted for information on the content of the letter.

Smart city Kochi board meeting held in Kochi today

The Dubai-based promoters’ response to the recent government letter will decide the fate of the proposed SmartCity Kochi project, said Fisheries and Registration Minister S. Sarma.

Talking to reporters after one of the briefest director board meetings of the project here on Monday, Mr. Sarma, who is also the chairman of SmartCity Kochi, said that the next meeting of the Cabinet will decide on the additional time sought by SmartCity to reply to the letter.

The government had sought a reply within 15 days to the letter it had send early this month asking the promoters to take immediate steps to launch the project. The Chief Executive Officer of SmartCity Fareed Abdulrahman, however, wrote to the chief secretary asking for time till the end of this month.

Mr. Sarma said that the meeting was held to comply with the statutory requirement under the Companies Act and did not discuss any issues like the prospects of a legal battle.

Later, addressing a press conference Mr. Abdulrahman said that the company would response before the end of this month. Asked about the purported delay in replying, he said that SmartCity had taken the letter seriously and wanted the reply to be very “realistic.”

“We want the reply to include the best solutions and recommendations to take the project forward. Pointing fingers and repeatedly stating the problems would never take us anywhere,” the CEO said. He, however, said that the response to the letter “not necessarily” see a change in the company’s stand on outstanding issues.

While expressing optimism about the project, Mr. Abdulrahman, however, said that SmartCity was on a sound legal footing if things ended up in a court of law. The confidence, he said, was borne out of the framework agreement which was clear about the obligations of both the partners.

He said that SmartCity was committed to its Kochi project for it was bigger than the issues surrounding it.

Smart City Kochi: Tecom asked more time for sending a reply

Dubai-based promoters TECOM (Dubai Commerce Technology and Media Free Zone Authority) on Saturday asked the Kerala government for granting sufficient time for sending a reply to the letter by State Government in Smart City project issue. Tecom has also written a letter to the government in this regard.

Earlier report

Smart City CEO Fareed Abdul Rehman has made it clear that a reply in connection with the much-expected Smart city project would be handed over to the State government within 30th of this month.

Elucidating the company’s stance, the CEO said that they would give reply after only consulting with experts regarding the same. It would have the reply for all the suspicions put forward by the government.

If a positive response was not obtained from the government, further decision on the same would be taken later, he added. Adding a note, he said that the company had already spend more than Rs. 100 Crores for the project.

The State cabinet on September 02 decided to serve a notice to TECOM in connection with the Smart City project. In the notice, the government will inform their unwillingness to accede to the demand of TECOM wanting 12 % freehold land. If a reply is not received within 10 days, the government will consider that TECOM has withdrawn from the project.

Smartcity Kochi:Tecom to attend director board meet

A meeting of the board of directors of the proposed SmartCity Kochi project will be held at Ramada Resorts on September 20.

The meeting is scheduled to meet the statutory requirements under the Companies Act, which call for convening a director board meeting once every three months. The last director board meeting was held on June 28.

The meeting is unlikely to invoke much enthusiasm on either side as most of the previous meetings failed to produce any tangible outcome to lift the project from the depths into which it had fallen over many contentious issues including that of the right of freehold over 12 per cent land to SmartCity, the Dubai-based promoters of the project.

In fact, it is learned that, the fate of the meeting was uncertain initially as neither parties were sure about the participation of the other. There had been no significant development on the project for the last two years since the disagreement between the promoters and the government cropped up.

Tecom to respond soon about Smart city Kochi

Tecom CEO Fareed Abdul Rehman has made it clear that a reply in connection with the much expected Smart city project would be handed over to the State government within 30th of this month.

Elucidating the company’s stance, the CEO said that they would give reply after only consulting with experts regarding the same. It would have the reply for all the suspicions put forward by the government. If a positive response was not obtained from the government, further decision on the same would be taken later, he added.
Adding a note, he said that the company had already spend more than Rs. 100 Crores for the project.

Earlier report

The State cabinet on last Thursday decided to serve a notice to TECOM in connection with the Smart City project.

In the notice, the government will inform their unwillingness to accede to the demand of TECOM wanting 12 % freehold land. If a reply is not received within 10 days, the government will consider that TECOM has withdrawn from the project.

Govt to serve notice to TECOM:Smart City Kochi

Govt to serve notice to TECOM:Smart City KochiThe State cabinet on Thursday decided to serve a notice to TECOM in connection with the Smart City project.

In the notice, the government will inform their unwillingness to accede to the demand of TECOM wanting 12 % freehold land. If a reply is not received within 10 days, the government will consider that TECOM has withdrawn from the project.
Kerala State Fisheries minister and Smart city project Chairman, S. Sarma today told that the Government was still keen on implementing the Smart city project in Kochi. Minister added that the government has no interest on those who are bent upon violation of the Smart city agreement.

The last Smart city Director Board meeting was held on June 28th at the Ramada Hotel in Kochi.

Kerala CM: Talks will go on with Tecom for SmartCity Kochi project

Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today said the government has not terminated negotiations with Dubai-based Tecom for developing SmartCity IT park at Kochi and it will consider alternative partnership only as the last resort.

His statement, made in the state Assembly, came close on the heels of Tecom officials' announcement during SmartCity board meeting at Kochi yesterday that the company would not shy away from a legal battle if the government went to court for arbitration.
Replying to questions on the long-dragging project, Achuthanandan said negotiations with Tecom were still on and the question of going for an alternative partner would arise only as a last option.

However, he added that there was no question of yielding to the Dubai company's demands such as "free-hold" right for part of the land since they were outside the original agreement.

Since the LDF Government came to power, projects worth Rs 10,000 crore have been initiated out of which Rs 2000 crore was direct government investment, he said.

In the last four years, the IT sector boom in Kerala has been three times higher than the national average. The state maintained the growth trend even during the global recession, he added.
A board of directors meeting of the proposed Rs.1,500 crore Smart City Kochi concluded here Monday without taking any decision on the fate of the IT project.
At the same time, the developer Smart City Dubai said it has no plans to pull out from the project.

Speaking to reporters here after the meeting, Smart City Dubai chief executive Fareed Abdul Rehman said: “Some more discussions have to take place because certain issues have to be resolved. We are not asking for anything new but just want those things that have been already written in the agreement and we have not asked anything new.”

He also invited the Chief Secretary of the state to visit their office in Dubai and to see what they are doing there.

Smart City Dubai is sticking to the agreement where it has been mentioned that they would get 12 per cent freehold rights (around 30 acres from the 246 acres). The Kerala government is adamant that it will not allow any real estate dealing and it is on this that the project is hanging fire.

Interestingly, State Fisheries Minister and Smart City Kochi Chairman S. Sarma did not attend the meeting.

And for the first time there were protests at the venue of the meeting. Members of the youth organisation of the ruling Left Democratic Front and the Revolutionary Socialist Party shouted slogans asking the state government to impelement the project.
Amidst continuing deadlock over the implementation of the proposed Smart City Kochi project, yet another meeting of the board of directors of the company would be held here today.

Unlike the initial board meetings, which evoked much interest triggering hopes of the project taking off, the ones held in the recent past had been just to fulfill the mandatory formalities.

The issue of right to freehold over 12 per cent land to Smart City, the Dubai-based promoters and the resultant stalemate over the registration of the land and Special Economic Zone notification had been keeping the project in a limbo for a long time now.

In between, arguments and ultimatums flew thick and fast between the stakeholders Smart City and the government dousing the hopes of the project materializing.

Fareed Abdulrahman, the Chief Executive Officer of Smart City, has pointed out the board meetings were being wrapped up without any significant decisions being taken.

After the last board meeting held on March 29 at which the outstanding issues plaguing the project were not discussed, Minister S. Sarma, who is also the chairman of the Smart City Kochi, had told waiting media persons that the board meeting was not the platform for discussing such issues as they need to be discussed at the government level as they related to an agreement reached between the government and Smart City.

He said that he was a mere board member like the rest of those on the board and was not authorized to take any decision on behalf of the government.

Mr. Yusuf Ali M.A., Managing Director of Emke Group, UAE, ranks today among the top NRI Business personalities. The Group has diversified into many significant areas under his dynamic stewardship, retail being the most prominent of them.
Emke Group, with its 22,000 strong workforce from 29 different nations and operational bases extending over the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Benin and Tanzania is one of the most successful corporates of the times with a steadily ascending growth curve over the years. The Group employs more than 15,200 Indians.
Lulu Cochin Mall is the new upcoming shopping mall in Kochi, Kerala, India. It is built on an area of 2,000,000 square feet. More than 240 renowned outlets including food courts, restaurants, family entertainment zones and a seven-screen Multiplex will all come together to make Lulu Shopping making it the one-stop destination for people of Kerala.

  • Parking space for over 1000 vehicles in the basement
  • Surface parking for 2000 vehicles
  • Majestic Central Atrium with translucent roof
  • Escalators
  • Fountains
  • Vertical Circulation from the basement upwards travelators and panoramic elevators
  • Easy access and exit
  • Spacious indoor walkways
  • Lulu Hypermarket on the Ground floor having an area of 1000,000 Square feet. selling fresh, frozen, canned food, fruits and vegetables, along with butchery, bakery, hot food counters etc
  • Lulu Department Store on the First floor with 1000,000 Square feet of shop floor selling non food items like garments, footwear, luggage, white goods, cosmetics, electronic goods etc
  • Leasable retail space over 1 lakh sq. ft. on Second Floor, International home furnishing store of area 500,000 square feet

Food court
  • A fine dining restaurant of 5,500 square feet and a coffee shop of 5500 square feet are located in the second floor
  • A large Food Court to seat around 3,500 people serviced by 13 kitchens will offer an array of exotic cuisine
  • 3 fine dining restaurants with terrace dining facilities on the Third floor

Game Zone
  • A n Amusement area of 30,000 square feet on the Third Floor.

5 Star hotel
  • A highlight of the Lulu Complex will be a 5 star hotel located adjacent to the imposing shopping mall. The 250 room properly will offer Royal Suite rooms and Executive Suites with international standard multi cuisine restaurants, swimming pool, coffee shop, Spa and privilege club facilities

Govt will implement the Smart City project if Tecom fails: CM

Chief minister V S Achuthanandan said that the government will implement the Smart City project if Tecom is not willing to do the same. They were given enough time but now they are posing hurdles.

On Munnar issue, the CM said that the work done by the special team was excellent but due to political row they were withdrawn. But the activities of the team appointed later were unsatisfactory, he said. The CM was speaking at a special press conference called on the wake of the fourth year anniversary of the state government. The government was able to solve the problems faced by the farmers. The government has implemented agriculture debt waiver scheme.

The accumulation rate of paddy was raised. The system to provide rice for Rs 2 a kg will be raised to 35 lakh families, at present that is 25 lakh. Free medical project would be provided to 30 lakh families. As part of EMS Housing project, 5, 25,000 houses will be built. Paddy agriculture will be extended to 15,000 hectors. With the renovation of Info park one lakh will get employment opportunities.

For IT development of Malabar, IT parks will be set up in places including Chimeni. The construction of coach factory will begin in Palakkad. The commissioning of Kollam - Kottapuram waterway is being done. The land from Harrison will be taken over. Vizhijam project is expected to start by this year.


‘Smart City Kochi delay sending wrong signals’

The inordinate delay in the Smart City Kochi project is sending wrong signals about the state’s IT industry across the world, Group of Technology Companies (GTECH) president V.K.Mathews said.

"It is nearly 10 years that discussions on the Smart City project began in the state. The state was missing a big opportunity in the IT sector by delaying the project. Tecom has a better international marketing strategy and most of the major IT companies in the world has their presence in the Dubai Internet City," he said adding that GTECH would take up the matter with the State Government.

Mathews, who is also the Chairman and CEO of IBS Group, was addressing a press conference here on Tuesday.

GTECH would also urge the political leadership to exempt the IT sector from frequent hartals and strikes, at least for the next three years, as the IT sector in the state is yet to become stable. A presentation highlighting the importance of the IT sector would be made before the LDF and the UDF leaders in this connection, Mathews said.

He pointed out that the hartals and strikes had not yet affected the functioning of the IT companies in the state as the Government had been arranging adequate security.

The GTECH leaders are against trade unionism in the IT sector as they felt that it would be detrimental to the development of the sector.

GTECH is, however, planning to constitute a forum of IT company employees as well as a women’s forum to take up the problems of the employees.

Mathews, who leads the new team of GTECH office-bearers said that GTECH would join hands with the State Government to initiate various measures for the development of the state’s IT sector, including consultation on policy matters. The IT companies in the state would also take part in the e-governance initiative of the State Government, he said.

In the wake of the growing threats faced by the IT Parks, GTECH would initiate steps to ensure the security of the Infopark and Technopark. Steps to reduce the cost of IT operations in the state and to support small and medium IT companies would also be initiated, Mathews said.


A strategic ban imposed by the major IT companies in the state not to poach employees from among themselves as well as job hopping by employees has been lifted.

Around 10 years ago, when the IT sector in the state was just catching up, there were restrictions on employees of one IT company joining another.

The objective of such a ban was to stabilise the state’s IT sector. Now the situation has changed and employees of one company can join another subject to the condition that he should obtain a relieving letter from the former employer, Mathews said.

GTECH, which was earlier known as Group of Technopark Companies, has been rechristened as Group of Technology Companies as many companies outside the Technopark campus, including those in the Infopark, are also part of GTECH.
GTECH vice-president and CEO of SunTech Business Solutions K.Nandakumar and GTECH secretary Anoop P.Ambika were also present at the press conference.


Claims made by TECOM not in contract: Minister S. Sharma

Giving a clear pointer to the government's action plan on Smart City S Sharma, chairman of the project termed the reply filed by TECOM as breach of contract. Speaking to the media, the minister clarified that the claims made by TECOM in the letter are not there in the initial contract. He added that the cabinet would decide on the future course of action.

The gap between the government and TECOM has widened following the statement by the minister. TECOM had on the reply filed reiterated their demand for freehold of land, which they claimed was there on the initial contract.

Both the CM and the minister had earlier made the action plan clear by stating that the government may be forced to think of alternative arrangements if TECOM fails to live up to the expected level.


Kochi Smartcity: Tecom answered to Kerala Govt.

Tecom, the promoters of Smartcity Kochi project, has asked the govt to stick to the framework agreement and the freehold rights. They also reiterated that the company is keen to go ahead with the project, the agreement for which was signed on May 13, 2007 with the Kerala govt. The letter was in reply to the state government's letter. The State Government had earlier asked Tecom whether it had any intention to go ahead with the project in Kochi.

Tecom vacates their Smart City Kochi Project office

The Tecom Monday vacated the office space at Vazhakkala here.

Tecom CEO Fareed Abdul Rahman in person handed over the deed to the village office here. The deed had to be registered since Tecom is a foreign company.

Smart City director board meet Today
The board of directors of Smart City is scheduled to meet here Monday evening.

The meeting assumes significance in the wake of government deadline to Smart City authorities regarding the project. There are indications that Tecom officials might hold unofficial talks with the state government.

It is six years since the Smart City entered the minds of Keralites as a dream project, but the wrangling by the state government and the Tecom over freehold rights ensured that the project did not take off.

Smart City Dubai had last week day said it had not asked for anything outside the framework agreement signed with the Kerala government.

"Freehold is a contractual obligation, not a favour done to us. Moreover, the freehold is asked for Smart City Kochi, an Indian company registered under the Indian companies act. We are not asking for anything which is not in the framework agreement," a statement from Smart City said.


Next Smartcity Kochi Directors Meeting decided on June 28, 2010.
Freehold land not charity, but a right: Smart City CEO
The government of Kerala doesn’t have the authority to issue deadlines on the Smart City project, Dubai Internet City CEO Fareed Abdul Rahman said Thursday.

The government should first fulfill its responsibility by meeting the conditions in the agreement.

If that is met, the Smart City is ready to go ahead with the construction as stipulated in the agreement. Freehold land is not a generosity of the government, it is a right according to the agreement, he said

The Freehold condition had come to effect from the first agreement itself. There are still unsolved issues regarding the project, the company said. "It is up to the government to find solutions to the issues. Why did it take two years for the government to send a letter", the CEO asked.


SmartCity Kochi Crucial Board Meeting on March 29

SmartCity Kochi Crucial Board Meeting on March 29 A crucial Board meeting of the SmartCity Kochi project will be held on March 29, 2010 in Kochi. The meeting of the SmartCity Board will have representatives from Tecom, the promoters of the SmartCity Kochi project and the Kerala Government.

Fareed Abdulrahman, CEO of SmartCity, is also expected to attend the Board Meeting. The meeting is being held in Kochi at the instance of Tecom though the Government wanted to have it in Trivandrum.

This Board meeting comes in the backdrop of the Kerala Government having informed Tecom, its decision to decline their demand for 12% freehold rights for part of the land acquired for the project. The Government had recently made its position clear in a letter to Tecom and had also said that it cannot wait indefinitely for the project to begin. The grant of 12 % freehold rights to SmartCity has been the contentious issue between the State Government and Tecom. The last Board meeting on December 23, 2009 in Kochi had turned out to be inconclusive with differences of opinion continuing between the two partners.

Meanwhile in another development, Fareed Abdulrahman, CEO, SmartCity has announced that their SmartCity Malta will open in the third quarter of 2010. SmartCity Malta is a similar project being developed by SmartCity in partnership with the Government of Malta with a minimum investment outlay of US $ 300 million. SmartCity is a joint venture between TECOM Investments and Sama Dubai.

No freehold rights for Tecom: CM
The Kerala Government has informed Tecom, the Dubai-based promoters of the SmartCity Kochi project that it is declining their demand for 12% freehold rights for part of the land acquired for the project. The Government had made its position clear in a letter to Tecom authorities and have also said that it cannot wait indefinitely for the project to begin.

Chief Minister Shri V S Achuthanandan, while briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting yesterday said, "They are indefinitely delaying the project, making fresh demands outside the framework of the original agreement. Their demand for freehold on part of the land, which will give them sales rights, is not acceptable to the government". The company's financial position appeared to be shaky and that could be the reason for making new demands, he also added.

The fate of the proposed Rs.1,500 crore IT park in Kochi to be built by Dubai-based developer Smart City Dubai will be decided at a board of directors meeting later this month. The Kerala government is adamant that no freehold rights over the project would be given to the builder as such a clause does not exist in the original agreement between the two parties.

The meeting will take place in Kochi on March 29. 'This meeting is not an unscheduled one; instead this date was fixed at the last board meeting held last year. But the meeting is a crucial in light of the recent developments,' said a Smart City Dubai official, who did not wish to be identified.

Smart City Dubai had signed an agreement in 2007 to build a mega IT project on a 246 acre plot in Kochi, providing about 90,000 jobs. It has been demanding 12 percent freehold rights in the project area. Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Wednesday said there is no freehold demand in the agreement. The developer had been told this could not be met.
Even as Finance Minister Thomas Isaac reiterated the State government's commitment to execute the proposed SmartCity Kochi project during his budget presentation, more than 50 families relocated for the project at Edachira are on the warpath alleging apathy on the part of authorities in providing the promised basic amenities on the land allotted for their rehabilitation.

“We were moved out in November 2008 and were promised power, water, and road on the rehabilitation land within six months. But till now we have got only electricity. If no steps are taken to fulfill the promises, we would stage a dharna in front of Infopark from the end of this month,” said P.A. Pareethukunju of the action council for the families displaced by the SmartCity project.

If things are not set straight before the onset of monsoon, life would become difficult, he said. He also said that the anganwadi promised on the land was yet to materialise. Only the land for the facility has been measured and demarcated but nothing more has happened, Mr. Pareethukunju said.

District Collector M. Beena, however, told the Hindu that the road could not be laid as Infopark, which was to bear the cost, found the estimate of Rs. 45 lakh given by the Public Works Department on the higher side and insisted on approval from the State government. Things remain there as of now.

Meanwhile, the Thrikkakkara panchayat had come forward to lay the road at a much reduced rate.

“We have asked the panchayat authorities to give it in writing and to submit an estimate,” Dr. Beena said.

As for water connectivity, she said that the deposit was made with the Kerala Water Authority and pipeline was laid only for the occupants of the land to find it insufficient. The demand is now for laying bigger pipes, the Collector said. Mr. Pareethukunju said that majority of the 58 families relocated had moved on to the rehabilitation land. He said that many officials and political leadership were oblivious of the incomplete state of affairs regarding rehabilitation.

“We are planning to take up the issue shortly under the Sutharya Kerala programme so that the Chief Minister is made aware of the problem,” he said.

He felt that the Chief Minister was under the impression that all promises had been fulfilled long back.

The rehabilitation package for the SmartCity Kochi evictees was considered a model one at the time it was declared.

Each family was given 6 cents of land each and those who had given up more land had the option to buy another five cents at the same price at which their land was bought for the project.

Basic amenities were also promised on the land. Via
Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Issac on Friday announced that the government would take measures to create one lakh (100,000) job opportunities for the IT sector in the state.

He also said that the Smart City project would be implemented in two stages at the Infopark and an amount of Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) has been sanctioned for the first year, the minister said.

The minister also said that the Kannur airport would be implemented in the manner of Cochin International Airport with public-private participation. The government will have 26% equity in the project.

Kerala budget taxes liquor, proposes sops for tourism

The Kerala government's budget for 2010-11 also proposed to extend the ambit of welfare schemes like employment guarantee and food subsidy, reduce taxes on tourism, beer and wine and impose fresh ones on direct to home services and jewellery shop owners.

While continuing with most of the schemes under the Rs 10,000-crore (Rs 100 billion) stimulus package unveiled last year during the slowdown, Isaac in his budget announced fresh sops for the crisis-hit tourism sector by slashing the luxury tax.

Luxury tax on tourism, a major revenue earner, was brought down to 7.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent in different categories from 10 per cent and 15 per cent.

Among other highlights of the budget are the extension of the Rs 2-per-kg-rice scheme to labourers of the unorganized sector from June and the employment guarantee scheme to the urban areas. The government has earmarked Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) for the food subsidy plan that will benefit about 3.5 million families.

Possibly with an eye on the assembly polls next year, the budget also left VAT rates untouched but proposed a 10 per cent hike in tax on liquor other than beer and wine.

The budget, showing a cumulative deficit of Rs 577.09 crore (Rs 5.77 billion), also sharply brought down the stamp duty on registration of real estate property as a sop to recession-hit construction sector.

Stating that Kerala cannot get rid of the revenue deficit by 2014-15 as suggested by the 13th Finance Commission, Issac said it would be Rs 3,629.55 crore (Rs 36.295 billion) for the year, about 11.64 per cent of the state's revenue.

Tax on beer and wine was slashed by 10 per cent, but that on other liquors was increased by 10 per cent.

The budget also sought to rationalise stamp duty and increased lifetime tax to 8 per cent for new motor cars and omni buses for private use, where engine capacity is 1500 cc and above.

A lifetime tax of 6 per cent ad valorem on all types of construction equipment vehicles was also imposed.

As the steep rise in gold prices had not been adequately reflected in the compounded tax, the budget re-fixed tax rates increase payable by the Jewellery shop owners.

Direct to Home service was brought under the tax net, with a levy of one per cent tax on gross charges paid by customers.

To protect small-scale cable TV operators, it exempted those having less than 5,000 connections from luxury tax.

The minister also sanctioned Rs 412 crore (Rs 4.12 billion) for heavy industries, Rs 240 crore (Rs 2.40 billion) for small and traditional sectors, agriculture projects would get Rs 622 crore (Rs 6.22 billion), the grand Kerala Shopping Festival will get Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million) and the coconut development project will receive Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million).

Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan today all most scripted the future of Smart City stating that IT sector in the state is safe even without the project. The CM took on the opposition for trying to give a picture that Smart City is everything regarding IT in the state. Achuthanandan continued his prior stand that his government has taken corrective measures over the wrong doings of the past UDF government.

The CM informed that the government has made all moves to ensure 10,000 crore worth investment in IT sector.

Meanwhile Oommen Chandy, opposition leader accused the government of failing to keep all promises including Smart City.


Kerala Govt. mulls handing over Smartcity Kochi to Infopark

The government has been contemplating to handover the prestigious Smartcity project to Inforpark as the former is in a state of limbo for past two years and consecutive talks with Smartcity Tecom officials have proved futile, informed Thomas Isaac, state Finance Minister.

The project, the foundation stone of which was laid in November 2007, is yet to take off due to differences between the State Government and Tecom, the promoters of the project, over issues like granting freehold right for 12 percent of the land allotted for the project.

While the government is sticking to the clause in the framework agreement that free-hold land right could be granted only after the completion of the master plan, the Tecom has been demanding the free-hold land right immediately.

Thomas Isaac said, the government would try to raise fund on behalf of Infopark. He also added that, the government’s main goal would be to resist the ASEAN and price rise. The food subsidy would be raised. This year’s Budget would focus on Food Security and Agriculture sector, Thomas Isaac said.


Smart City Kochi: Decision within a month

A decision on whether TECOM should be called in for completing the proposed Smart City project in Kochi would be taken in a month’s time, said Minister S Sarma, who is also the project chairman of Smart City.

He said the government hitherto waited for TECOM. This will not work again. It is high time the government waited for TECOM. Now, the government will take decision within one month whether it is necessary or not to invite TECOM to be part of Smart City.

He reiterated that TECOM’s demand to make available free ownership over 12 % of land cannot be accepted.


Kerala Government condoning failure on SmartCity Kochi: IUML

Indian Union Muslim League State general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty has described baseless Chief Minister Achuthanandan’s statement blaming the United Democratic Front (UDF) for the failure of the SmartCity project.

Talking to reporters at Manjeri near here on Monday, Mr. Kunhalikutty said that it was the UDF that brought the SmartCity project, and that the Chief Minister was trying to condone the government’s failure to implement the project.

“When the UDF comes to power, we’ll set up more than one SmartCity in Kerala,” the Muslim League leader said.

Mr. Kunhalikutty said governance in the State was going in a reverse gear. He said a UDF team would visit Wayanad in view of the CPI(M)’s encroachments on the land of Shreyams Kumar, MLA. The IUML leader accused the CPI(M) of resorting to personal vendetta against Shreyams Kumar after he changed the political front. Mr. Kunhalikutty said that the CPI(M) did not have the power to resist the UDF in the State.

Sound City Kochi
Rasool pookkutti's 300 crore sound city project in kochi
The Congress-led opposition in Kerala Tuesday said the proposed Rs.1,500-crore (Rs.15 billion) Smart City Kochi project has failed to materialise due to the ineffectiveness of the state government.

Responding to queries on Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's statement about the project, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy told reporters: "This government is completing four years in office shortly, what were they doing till now.

"The government lacks the will to do things because of their own contradictions and the easiest thing is to blame all and sundry for one's own failure and they are doing just that," he added.

The chief minister had said in Delhi last week that the mega Information Technology (IT) project was at cross roads because a section of the opposition leaders and their children were playing spoilsport to see that the project does not materialise.

Achuthanandan had laid the foundation stone for the mega IT project at Kochi, to be built by Smart City Dubai, in November 2007. It was to come up in a 246-acre plot and expected to provide 90,000 jobs.

But after the laying of the foundation stone, nothing happened as the issue of granting 12 percent freehold rights to Smart City Dubai cropped up. Despite several rounds of discussion, the issue was not resolved.

"We have a chief minister here who time and again says that Smart City Dubai is financially broke. Is this the way a chief minister of a state who is looking for investment to happen speaks," asked Chandy, who had cleared the proposal when he was the chief minister in 2006.

The last director board meeting of the Smart City Kochi took place in December in Thiruvananthapuram and as always ended without any progress.

"We asked Achuthanandan several times to come clean on his repeated statements that Smart City Dubai has been demanding things outside of the agreement. But till date we are yet to hear from him on what the demands are," added Chandy.

Copyright Indo Asian News

Smart City Kochi

TECOM makes it clear that it has intimated Govt of Kerala that its intention is not to sell the freehold land long ago. Moreover, freehold is sought for the Indian company Smart City Kochi with Minister S. Sarma as its chairman, and not for Tecom.

Medical City Kochi

Medical City Kochi, Kerala, IndiaIn between all the unclear and doubtful talks on smart city, a ray of hope for another development project in Kerala. This is the Medical city is from D.M health care group. The group is having plans of establishing various medical firms throughout Kerala. The Medical city at Cochin will be a 500 crore project. The group is having plans of investing 800 crores in the Medical field of India. Along with the medical city Cochin the group will establish a medical college at Wayanad. The new plans were announced by the chairman of the group Dr. Asad Muppan.

The Medical city will be constructed in 35 acres of land. The project will be constructed in 2 phases. In the initial stage hospital with 500 beds, convention centre, Hotel facility for Guests and relatives of patients, accommodation facility for doctors and staff will be constructed. In the second stage expert facilities for specialized branched will be established. This includes modern treatment facilities for specialties as eye, heart and cancer. The group is also conducting several social service activities in the medical field.


The SmartCity