India Business
DIC team in Kerala for Smart City talks
Feb 24, 2007 - 10:21:44 PM

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 24 - Amid conflicting signals from the Kerala government, a team of Dubai Internet City - arrived here for another round of talks Sunday on the Rs.15 billion - Smart City project at Kochi.

'The last round of talks was held here between DIC and the Kerala government on Feb 7th and we are here for a follow up,' said Farid Abdul Rahman who arrived here Saturday night with Baju George.

When asked if Kochi will see the Smart City, Rahman told reporters: 'Why not?'

This is the third time that DIC officials are here for talks after the Left Democratic Front came to power in May last year.

However, the two-member team's arrival Saturday was preceded by some confusion.

When reporters asked Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan about any visit of DIC representatives, he pleaded ignorance. 'I do not know of such a thing,' he said.

Moreover, Chief Secretary Lissy Jacob, who led the Kerala team during the Feb 7 talks too refused to confirm or deny media reports of the team's visit.

Dubai-based Keralite businessman M.A. Yusuf Ali, who played an instrumental role in the last round of talks, too seemed unaware of the team's visit.

'After the last round of talks, I do not know what happened. I did my job then,' Ali told IANS over telephone from New Delhi.

Ali is believed to have single-handedly revived the mega IT project on account of his proximity with the ruling family in the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier, a DIC team had come here in August 2006 to revive the proposed project.

DIC had inked a memorandum of understanding - with the Oommen Chandy government in October 2005. As then leader of opposition, Achuthanandan had opposed the transfer of the already developed Infopark campus to DIC, as agreed by Chandy.

According to the new proposal, Infopark will not be handed over and Kerala would lease around 210 acres of land to DIC for around Rs.800 million - and there would be no free land given to it.

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