1st phase of SmartCity to be developed soon

About 90,000 jobs are expected to be generated once the project is completed.

Kochi: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday said the first phase of the much delayed Rs 2,000 crore SmartCity Kochi project would be completed in 18 months.

"There will be no further delays in completion of the first phase of the project," he told reporters at nearby Edachira, where the project is coming up, after a director board meeting.

Chandy, also the project chairman, said the foundation stone has been laid for the first phase of the 3.5 lakh sq ft project and work would be completed in 18 months after all necessary approvals are received.

"No delays are expected from Tecom, the project promoters and the state government," he said.

The Centre has given all approvals except one. Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had said the policy decision was taken by the Centre on the single SEZ status.

"The concerned meeting is in Delhi today after which the government will receive the official approval," he said.

Abdul Latif AlMulla Group CEO Tecom Investments and Vice- Chairman of SmartCity Kochi, however, said efforts would be taken to ensure that the first phase is completed in 24 months.

"During the board meeting we had sorted out a couple of small issues crucial for the project to succeed. The response from the government has been extremely positive," he said.

He said Tecom has received a lot of enquiries from partners who have invested in the project, "not just locally, but also nationally and globally".

"Kerala is on every company's map. These companies will play an important role in the economy of Kerala and we will not take any step that is not in favour of Kerala," he said.

Chandy also inaugurated a state-of-the-art pavilion cum marketing facility of SmartCity.

The project is being developed by Dubai-based SmartCity, a joint venture company promoted by TECOM Investments and Sama Dubai and Government of Kerala. SmartCity Kochi is expected to be one of the country's largest business parks.

About 90,000 jobs are expected to be generated once the project is completed.