India Business
Achuthanandan has delayed Smart City project: Chandy
May 14, 2007 - 6:20:02 PM

Thiruvananthapuram, May 14 - Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said Monday that the Smart City project, inked a day earlier by the state government and Dubai Internet City -, was their baby and the present government had only delayed the Rs.15 billion --IT project by two years.

'The only credit that Achuthanandan - can claim on this project is he delayed it by two years. One year was lost when he opposed it as Leader of Opposition and then after becoming chief minister he delayed it. His only agenda was to tarnish me. So I have put up six questions to Achuthanandan,' Chandy said at a press conference here.

The agreement with DIC inked Sunday does not include transfer of the existing Infopark campus at Kochi, which had been agreed upon by Chandy.

While the former chief minister had agreed to sell 236 acres of land at a cost of Rs.460 million - and given DIC full ownership, Achuthanandan made DIC agree to 246 acres of land at a cost of Rs.1.06 billion -, which would be given on lease for 99 years.

Further, Chandy had agreed to creation of 33,000 new jobs by Smart City, but Achuthanandan got it increased to 90,000.

Chandy said: 'The deal that he has inked has seen the state lose Rs.7.57 billion - as the value of land that he had proposed, from when we inked the MoU with DIC,' said Chandy.

'In the final agreement, the words 'direct employment' have been deleted. It means that the proposed 90,000 jobs also include indirect employment. Moreover, there has been no penalty clause in the agreement which we had included in case they don't create the promised jobs,' said Chandy.

Chandy said in the new agreement the initial paid up capital has been reduced from Rs.2.4 billion - to the Rs.1.20 billion. Now, despite an increase in the stakes of DIC from nine percent to 16 percent, the total amount that DIC would bring in has come down drastically from Rs.2.18 billion to just over Rs.1 billion.

'We decided to transfer Infopark because then DIC would have an operational base and could have showcased it to their prospective clients. They could also have begun construction the day after the agreement was inked. Now they themselves have said that it would take at least a year for any construction to take place. In the IT world one cannot afford to lose time,' said Chandy.

'The game plan of Achuthanandan was just to tarnish me and paint me as someone who is corrupt. But time will prove that my terms were far better. I will react again when Achuthanandan replies to these issues,' said Chandy.

Chandy also remarked how come the chief minister had signed the agreement with a company that he once described as a real estate firm. 'He has now agreed to give around 30 acres of land to DIC at any place where they ask for and DIC is free to do whatever they choose to do with that land,' said Chandy.

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