Kochi infotech project off the blocks

February 23rd, 2011 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, Feb 23 (IANS) Within a month of the Kerala government and Smart City Dubai resolving their differences over Smart City Kochi, the much-delayed Rs.1,500 crore infotech project took another step forward with the lease agreement being registered here Wednesday.The first board meeting, being held here after the inking of the memorandum of agreement between the two sides, approved the lease agreement and cleared the way to get the registration process completed at a sub-registrar office near here with clear cut guidelines that at no cost should the land be sold.

It was more than three years back that the foundation stone for the project was laid and since then, work has been held up over the issue of granting 12 percent freehold rights to the builders outside of the 246 acres of the proposed project site.

The Dubai team was led by Abdul Latheef Al-Mullah and the Kerala team by state Fisheries Minister S. Sarma, who is also the chairman of the Smart City Kochi project.

Al-Mullah told reporters that the preliminary draft of the master plan for the project was ready.

“When the next board meets, the final of the master plan would be ready and we are certain that we will be able to start work on the project at the earliest,” he said.

The deadlock between the Kerala government and Smart City Dubai over the proposed project ended Feb 2, following talks between Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and United Arab Emirates (UAE) government representative Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer.

The two parties had also signed a nine-point agreement which touched upon all the contentious issues with regards to ownership and freehold rights.

Wednesday’s meeting was based on this agreement.

“Currently, of the 246 acres of land, only 136 acres have got the special economic zone status and our official will be leaving to Delhi to speed up the process for getting the same status for the reminder of the land,” said Sarma.

Trouble shooter M.A. Yousuf Ali, who brokered the deal after being appointed the representative of the state government to negotiate with the UAE Government, was also present Wednesday when the lease agreement was registered.

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