Thiruvananthapuram: The first phase of the proposed mega IT project, Smart City Kochi, would be commissioned before Oct 31, 2012, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Thursday.
The Oommen Chandy-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government, which had first finalised the project during its previous term, held its first meeting on Thursday with the builder of the project, Smart City Dubai.
Addressing reporters here along with the Dubai officials, Chandy said all the issues have been cleared and an action plan for the project has been drawn up.
"Before August 31 this year, their office that was closed down last year at Kochi would be reopened. On Oct 31, the foundation stone of the headquarter building of the project would be laid and the same day the construction work for the first phase (3.5 lakh square feet) would begin and it would be finished latest by Oct 31, 2012," said Chandy.
The Dubai team was represented by their CEO Abdul Lateef Al-Mullah, managing director Business Park Operations, Ismail Al-Nakhi and Kochi Smart City managing director, Baju George.
Keralite businessman M.A. Yousuf Ali, who is settled in the Middle-East and was largely instrumental in reviving the project after the previous chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan asked for his services to remove the deadlock, was also present.
"Even though we would have liked to go ahead with our agreement which was done in 2006, since a delay would occur, we decided not to make any change to the MoU that was inked between the Achuthanandan government and the Dubai partner this February," added Chandy.
It was nearly more than four years back that the foundation stone for the project was laid. It was held up till February this year over the issue of granting 12 percent freehold rights to the builders, outside the 246 acres of the proposed project site.
"Currently, of the 246 acres of land, only 136 acres have got the special economic zone (SEZ) status. The next meeting to grant SEZ status is taking place in Delhi July 15 and we will get the clearance for the remaining land also. Our Dubai partner has asked for another four acres of land so as to make the project come up in an area of 250 acres and this would enable this project to get the status of `Services SEZ`," added Chandy.
"We are committed to this project and our government has already made the necessary fund allocation for this. At this moment, we are unable to come out with the entire project cost because the cost of everything has gone up many times since we first started the discussion on this project," Mullah said.
The Dubai team has been asked to submit within 10 days the application to get the project to be developed as an industrial township.
Chandy also clarified that the SEZ policy of the Centre would be applicable for this project.