Smart City project should go on with Dubai, demands Congress

November 18th, 2010 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 18 (IANS) The Congress’s Kerala unit Thursday demanded that the proposed Rs.1,500-crore Smart City Kochi mega IT project should go ahead with the participation of the Dubai government.

Addressing reporters here, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy said this project has to go ahead with the Dubai government because it is an international venture.

“If the state government does anything without them, then it is not going to be a Smart City. This project has been hanging fire for a few years now, and knowing the importance of this mega project, we had offered our full support to see that this project becomes a reality,” he said.

Chandy’s reaction came after the V.S. Achuthanandan-led Left Front government Tuesday announced that very soon it will decide on the fate of the project and would not hesitate to go ahead with the project without Smart City Dubai.

The first round of talks between the Kerala government and TECOM, the venture of the Dubai government which had set up Smart City Dubai, took place between 2004-06 when Chandy was the chief minister, and it was near the end of his tenure that the proposal for Smart City Kochi was inked.

But following stiff opposition from the then leader of opposition V.S.Achuthanandan, who contended that Smart City Dubai had no experience in IT and was merely a real estate company, Chandy did not go ahead with the project - even after the Kerala High Court gave him the green signal.

But Achuthanandan, after becoming the chief minister in 2006, inked the proposal again with Smart City Dubai in 2007, just ahead of the first anniversary of his government.

Three years later and after 22 director board meetings of Smart City Kochi, the Kerala government has been adamant that under no circumstances can the freehold property, which Smart City Dubai will be getting for the project, be sold.

Smart City Dubai is sticking to the agreement which accords to it 12 percent freehold rights.

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