Kerala delaying Kochi project, insists Smart City Dubai

December 2nd, 2010 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2 (IANS) Two days after receiving an ultimatum from Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, Smart City Dubai Thursday said it was the state government which was delaying the Kochi infotech project.

Foundation stone for the Rs.1,500 crore ($335 million) Smart City Kochi IT project was laid three years ago. Smart City Dubai was supposed to develop this project in an area of 246 acres of land near the airport.

All that has happened after that are 22 board meetings of Smart City Kochi. Differences still persist with the Kerala government, which is adamant that under no circumstances can freehold land that Smart City Dubai will be getting for the project can be sold.

Smart City Dubai insists that it should get 12 percent freehold rights (of around 30 acres) to sell.

In a press release issued here Thursday, chief executive officer of Smart City Dubai and Smart City Kochi Fareed Abdulrahman said the company had responded to three letters by the state government and stood by its commitment to the project.

“It has been two months since our last reply, which was sent on Sept 30th, 2010. Ultimatums out of the blue are not going to resolve the issues or improve the situation. Framework agreement is crystal clear in its provision for freehold for Smart City Kochi,” he said.

Abdulrahman also added that his company has constantly assured the state government that the land will be used for the good of Kochi and the state.

“Yet, we are unable to understand the reasons or intentions behind delaying the project in this manner. Our commitment to Kerala and the people of Kerala is important to us and we hope to begin the project soon,” he said.

Achuthanandan Tuesday said the state will write to Smart City Dubai one last time to see if they still stand by the accord that was inked with the government.

“The last round of talks held with the state government was on 1st October, 2009, which was inconclusive. It’s more than a year and we are yet to receive any invitation from the government for any other discussions. We are even ready to invite the chief minister once again to visit Dubai. We have not received any response to our last invitation,” Abdulrahman added.

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