India Business
Yet another claimant for Kochi Smart City
Mar 15, 2007 - 7:57:34 PM

Thiruvananthapuram, March 15 - Even as the Kerala government is considering a proposal of the Dubai Internet City - to set up a Rs.15 billion Smart City at Kochi, a third claimant with much more attractive terms submitted its proposal to Chief Minister V.S.Achuthanandan here Thursday.

The Thiruvananthapuram headquartered Muthoot Pappachan Group officials met Achuthanandan and said they would require 200 acres and would give Rs.9 million per acre for a 99-year lease and 26 percent stake to the Kerala government.

'We will construct 20 million sq ft space and the first phase of the project would be completed in 24 months. We will also offer 23 percent stakes to non-resident Keralites,' said Thomas George Muthoot to reporters here.

The Muthoot Pappachan Group has to its credit a state-of-the-art IT facility at Kochi where it has built a 3.55 lakh sq ft space, which is fully sold out.

The Smart City project at Kochi took a turn for the second time in two days. On Tuesday a Hong Kong-based firm showed interest for a similar venture.

Top officials of the JB Group Tuesday spent half an hour with the chief minister and termed the discussions as 'hugely fruitful'.

According to the initial proposal, the JB Group would construct on a 100-acre plot of land near the Infopark, a seven million sq feet infrastructure for IT and IT enabled services.

They will pay Rs.850 million as cost of land to be given on a 99-year lease and 26 percent equity participation would be given to the state government.

On Monday, the ruling Left Democratic Front - had asked the Achuthanandan government to save the project at Kochi by relaxing certain conditions.

The JB Group has to its credit the Giga Space, a leading IT park in Pune that was recently named the best IT park in Maharashtra.

The proposals put forward by both the JB Group and the Muthoot Pappachan Group on paper appear superior than the one made by DIC officials on the Smart City project, where the Kerala government would have 16 percent stake to begin with.

Moreover, the land that the government has agreed to hand over to them is 248 acres, at a cost of Rs.1 billion.

While the Achuthanandan government has agreed for a 25-year lease, DIC has said this was too short a period.

Meanwhile, with more and more companies coming forward and putting up claims, the DIC is under pressure and the ball is now in Achuthanandan's court.

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

According to the two new proposals, Infopark will not be handed over and no free land will be given.

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