21 April 2009
Thiruvananthapuram: The proposed Rs.15-billion Smart City Kochi IT park Tuesday suffered a setback after Smart City Dubai, which has signed a pact with the state government to develop the project, said it wanted the freehold land issue resolved.
This was informed in a press release, issued Tuesday by Smart City Dubai chief executive Fareed Abdulrahman, who said they were assigned to Smart City Kochi and still heavily involved in the development of the project and had not pulled back from their roles and responsibilities.
"However, the office fit-out of Josh Towers (also at Kochi) and the recruitment of additional people have been put on hold till the freehold land issue is resolved," read the release.
Smart City Dubai wants the state to give 12 percent freehold rights on the property as was agreed at the time of the signing of the agreement, but says now the government has different opinion on that.
The project is slated to come up on a 246-acre plot, with an 8.8 million square feet of built-up space, of which 70 percent is earmarked for IT and IT-enabled Services.
The foundation stone of the project was laid Nov 16, 2007 by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and since then, barring seven board meetings, there has been no movement forward.
The Smart City Dubai is upset with the state government on account of the slow progress with regards to the stamp duty for the registration of the land, and also on the granting of special economic zone (SEZ) status for the entire project.
So far, for the project's first phase, only 136 acres were granted SEZ clearance last year.