India Business
Smart City project to be inked this week: Achuthanandan
Apr 25, 2007 - 4:14:23 PM

Thiruvananthapuram, April 25 - The proposed Rs.15 billion - Smart City project at Kochi would be inked with developer Dubai Internet City - this week, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here Wednesday.

'We have cleared the project and have informed DIC that the agreement could be inked before April 30,' Achuthanandan told reporters here after the weekly cabinet meeting.

The development is seen as a moral victory for Achuthanandan as he had earlier opposed the terms for the project worked out by the then Congress-led United Democratic Front - government.

Giving details, the chief minister said the agreement was totally different from the one proposed by the Oommen Chandy government.

'They had agreed to the transfer of the Infopark campus, we have deleted that. Similarly, they had agreed to sell 236 acres of land at a cost of Rs.26 crores - and given them full ownership, while we have given them 246 acres of land at a cost of Rs.106 crores -,' he said.

This has been given on leasehold terms for 99 years.

'They said their project would create 33,000 new jobs while in our agreement it is 90,000 jobs,' said Achuthanandan.

Moreover, the earlier nine percent stake for the government has been increased to 16 percent - it would become 26 percent after five years.

Achuthanandan has also scuttled the DIC's demand that the government would not set up any more IT parks in Kochi.

Talks for the project had begun in 2004 when A.K. Antony was chief minister and P.K. Kunhalikutty IT minister.

Reacting to the new developments, Kunhalikutty said: 'Achuthanandan can celebrate with this project mooted by us. Three years were lost, but it is finally becoming reality with some changes'.

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