Smart City project cannot be delayed any further: Developer

June 1st, 2009 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, June 1 (IANS) Smart City Dubai, the developer of a Rs.1,500-crore ($316 million) IT project here, Monday said the project cannot be delayed any further and urged the Kerala government to take quick action to sort out the free-hold land issue.
Smart City Dubai chief executive Fareed Abdul Rehman told reporters here that the company wanted assurance from the government regarding the free-hold rights on 12 percent of land meant for the project.

“All issues can be settled in a day by the government and we will have to think otherwise if things don’t get sorted out before the end of the year,” Rehman said.

The Smart City Kochi project, whose foundation stone was laid Nov 16, 2007 by Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, has not seen any progress since then.

Rehman came to Kerala from Dubai a week after Achuthanandan said that the Dubai-based developer was facing cash crunch and now making “unreasonable demands”.

Smart City Kochi chairman and state Fisheries Minister S. Sarma also said last week that the developer was making fresh demands that were not part of the agreement.

“As far as we know, we are in no crisis and we haven’t made any unreasonable demand. All what we want is an assurance from the government for the 12 percent freehold title of the project land, which was agreed in the deal,” said Rehman.

He added that the company had made the same demand a year ago, but there was no response from the government.

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.

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

“See, once the remaining land is notified as SEZ, then it’s difficult for us to get free-hold rights. That’s why we want assurance form the government now,” said Rehman.

Sarma had last week said the free hold rights of 12 percent of the project land, which amounts to 39 acres, would be given only after the master plan is ready.

“But the plan is yet to be ready,” the minister had said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Business |