Kerala asks Smart City developer to stick to agreement

Kochi, Nov 28 ( Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Saturday asked Smart City Dubai, the developer of a proposed IT park here, to stick to the framework agreement or else the government would “look for other options”.

“In case they (Smart City Dubai) are unable to go by the agreement, we will have to look for other options,” Achuthanandan said after laying the foundation stone for the second phase expansion of the Infopark near here.

He was referring to the Dubai-based company’s demand for free-hold right over 12 percent of the total land allocated for the Rs.1,500 crore Smart City project.

“Not an inch of land given to them can be sold,” said the chief minister.

The Smart City Kochi has been hanging fire for over two years as the government and the Dubai-based developer are yet to resolve certain key issues.

Achuthanandan had laid the foundation stone for the IT city, which is to come up on 246 acres, in November 2007.

The Dubai firm claims the project did not take off as the government is yet to complete the registration of the land allotted for the IT park and settle a contentious stamp duty issue.

“We have no problem to give them freehold rights but under no circumstances they will be allowed to sell that land ,” said Achuthanandan.

“We have made this quite clear to them. This government has so far developed IT infrastructure in thousands of acres. Smart City may be a little delayed, but it will certainly be a reality,” he added.

Earlier, the chief minister had said the Dubai firm was financially “broke” and was now coming up with fresh demands that were not part of the framework agreement signed by the two sides to delay the project.

The second phase of the Infopark will come up on 160 acres in the suburbs of Kochi and is expected to generate around 50,000 new jobs.