We are committed to Smart City, says developer (Lead)

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 25 (Inditop.com) Hours after Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the developers of Smart City Kochi faced financial problems, the Dubai-based firm Wednesday extended an invitation to him to visit its operations there.

In a statement, Smart City Dubai chief executive Fareed Abdulrahman said the company was committed to the “very important project” and would follow the conditions of the framework agreement it signed with the government.

“We have the full support, financially, operationally and otherwise, from our parent company, TECOM Investments. We also wish to highlight our commitment towards our legal obligations as outlined in the framework agreement,” Abdulrahman said.

Taking a dig at the chief minister for his remark, he said: “Comments that may question our commitment or our legal obligations towards this very important project are misplaced and could impair our shared vision.”

Abdulrahman added that the company was seeking “better understanding and cooperation from our counterparts and partners”.

“We would also like to reassure the people of Kerala that Smart City Kochi is very much a priority for us and we will exert every effort to guarantee its successful fruition.”

Earlier Wednesday, Achuthanandan said the proposed IT park would certainly be a reality even if the developer pulled out of the project.

“Yes, this would be a reality because we are committed to the project. This would go ahead even if Smart City Dubai backs out,” Achuthanandan told reporters here after the weekly cabinet meeting.

The chief minister laid the foundation stone for the Rs.1,500-crore IT park in November 2007, but the project has not improved any further since then as the government and the developer are yet to resolve some contentious issues.

Asked if the government was looking for other partners, Achuthanandan said: “If need be, we will. But before doing that we want to talk to them (Smart City Dubai) again.”

Company officials say 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.

Another hurdle in the implementation of the project is the issue of awarding 12 percent free-hold land to the Dubai-based firm.

The company wants free-hold rights on 12 percent of land meant for the project, but the government says this demand is not part of the framework agreement signed between the two parties.

Achuthanandan, who last week said Smart City Dubai was “broke”, repeated his claim Wednesday, saying the company was facing “some problems” as its major Arab financiers lost huge sums when the US banks collapsed last year.

“They are upset and we know what their financial position is,” said the chief minister.