India Business
Kerala awaiting Dubai Internet City's response
Mar 31, 2007 - 3:00:23 PM

Thiruvananthapuram, March 31 - With new offers for the proposed Rs.15 billion Smart City in Kochi coming its way, the Kerala government is awaiting a final response from Dubai Internet City - officials on the project.

Joseph C. Mathew, IT advisor to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, told IANS: 'We have made it very clear to DIC that under no circumstances would the land given for the project be made freehold.

'Almost 10 days back we informed them that the government was not interested in giving a freehold on the land. The land would only be given on a leasehold basis and we are not insisting on the period of leasehold,' said Mathew.

The total land to be leased for the project is 248 acres at a cost of Rs.1.04 billion. A pet project of the previous United Democratic Front government, the Smart City project involves the setting up of an IT park in Kochi.

The DIC team was here for discussions in the last week of February, following which Achuthanandan had announced that a final decision on the project would be taken before the assembly session began March 2. But things did not go according to plan, as DIC insisted on freehold rights to the land.

'They have agreed on all the other terms and it is only on this aspect that the project has been delayed. We have decided to would wait for some more time and then send them a final letter asking for their decision,' said Mathew.

Reports indicate that the Achuthanandan government is insisting on giving only leasehold rights because two other players - the Hong Kong-based JB Group and the local giant Muthoot Papachan Group - have submitted proposals that are far more attractive than the DIC proposal.

'Yes, two companies have announced their interest by meeting the chief minister and also holding press conferences. There are several others who are waiting in the wings to set up the project fully on our terms,' said Mathew.

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