Kochi SmartCity: Dubai Government official to visit Kerala

In a last-ditch bid to end stalemate over the SmartCity IT project in Kochi, a senior representative of the Dubai government is expected to visit Kerala shortly to iron out differences between the state government and Dubai-based Tecom, the partner for the venture.

Confirming the reports in this regard, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters here today that the Dubai authorities had expressed wish for a discussion and the government had accepted it.

He, however, said no date had been fixed for the visit.

State Registration Minister S Sarma, who is also Chairman of the SmartCity Kochi, had yesterday said a representative of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee (DFSC) had expressed wish to hold talks with the government to end the logjam over the project.

The proposed meeting was the result of mediatory talks held with Tecom and the Dubai government by a leading Keralite entrepreneur based in the Gulf, who has been acting as a mediator between the two sides to save the long-pending project.

SmartCity Kochi was envisaged as a joint venture project to set up a knowledge industry hub some five years back.

Though the government acquired about 240 acres of land for it and a framework agreement signed, the project has failed to take off due to differences between the two sides over the ownership of part of the land.

While the Dubai partners wanted free-hold right over some portion of the land, the LDF government in the state had firmly declined to accept the demand holding it was not part of the original agreement.

The government had also given repeated warnings to the Dubai company that if the project was delayed inordinately it would not hesitate to seek another partner or go ahead with the project on its own.



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