‘CPI-M delayed Smart City project’

October 30th, 2010 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 30 (IANS) Former Kerala industries minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, the brain behind the Rs.1,500-crore Smart City project, Saturday blamed the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for delaying the IT township project at Kochi.

“They (CPI-M) did not have a clue that the basic premise of getting IT entrepreneurs into a state is through building infrastructure. They lost precious years by sitting on trivial issues connected to ownership of land and delayed the project,” Kunhalikutty said.

The Indian Union Muslim League leader first brought the project onto the table as the information technology minister in 2004.

The Oommen Chandy government signed the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Smart City Dubai in 2005 to go ahead with the project.

However, the CPI-M, led by then leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, protested and said the MoU was hugely disadvantageous for Kerala. Even though the Kerala High Court gave the go ahead to the project, Chandy decided against it.

“There was a huge shortage of IT infrastructure then and this project would have brought in numerous companies,” Kunhalikutty said.

“But with several years passing and nothing happening, the next government here will find it difficult because things are not that bright as it was then,” he added.

Of late, the state government and Smart City Dubai have been engaged in a war of words. The Kerala government recently served an ultimatum to Smart City Dubai asking it to either start work or leave.

After the laying of the foundation stone in 2007, the project has been hanging in balance with Smart City Dubai sticking to the agreement that mentions they would get 12 percent freehold rights.

But the Kerala government is adamant that they would not allow any real estate dealings.

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