Kerala IT township project off

June 14th, 2009 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, June 14 (IANS) Smart City Dubai, a Gulf-based company that is into setting up self-sustained townships for knowledge-based industries, Sunday said it was no longer interested in its proposed Rs.1,500-crore ($316 million)-IT township project in this state.
In a statement, the company said it has withdrawn the contract with UK-based master planner Collin Buchnan company to develop the Smart City Kochi IT township project.

“We regret to inform all those concerned that we have been forced to close our contract with the internationally renowned UK-based Master Planning Consultants,” said company chief executive Fareed Abdul Rahman in a press statement.

The statement comes two weeks after Smart City Dubai urged the state government June 1 to sort out the issue of freehold land, and wanted an assurance that 12 percent of the land for the project be freehold.

The company said despite its “best efforts to sort out issues by way of action”, it has “only heard statements” in the media about more discussions on the subject of freehold.

“After our recent press meeting, it was said that Smart City will come to know of the Government of Kerala’s decision by the first week of June. Once the Government of Kerala takes action in resolving the pending issues and we mutually agree on the way forward, the Master Planners will recommence developing Smart City Kochi,” said Rahman.

The Smart City Kochi project’s foundation stone was laid Nov 16, 2007 by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan. Since then, there has been no progress.

Achuthanandan has accused the Dubai-based developer of making “unreasonable demands”.

The proposed project, to be jointly launched by the state government and Smart City Dubai, is slated to come up on a 246-acre plot with 8.8 million square feet of built-up space, of which 70 percent is earmarked for IT and IT-enabled services.

The government has already given the special economic status to 136 acres of the project land and is yet to get the same for the remaining land.

But it has not completed the registration of the land and not settled the stamp duty issue.

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