Yusuff Ali to go ahead with convention complex project

Rejecting allegations of irregularities, NRI businessman MA Yusuff Ali said he would go ahead with International Convention Centre project at land taken on lease from Cochin Port Trust (CPT).

Thiruvananthapuram: Rejecting allegations of irregularities, leading NRI businessman M A Yusuff Ali on Saturday said he would go ahead with the International Convention Centre project at the land taken on lease from Cochin Port Trust (CPT) at Bolgatty in Kochi.
"This is my dream project. I will go ahead with it, making Kochi and Kerala an international convention hub," Ali told a meet-the-press at the Press Club here.

Ali had earlier said he will pull out of the project in view of allegations raised by certain quarters, including a section of media, that he had obtained 27 acres for 30 years from CPT at below market rates.

Major political parties in Kerala, including the ruling Congress and opposition CPI(M), however, have given a clean chit to Ali and told him that he has no reason to pull out of the project.

Replying to queries on the issue, Ali said he was at a loss to know as to why such a controversy arose at all as the whole thing had been done transparently on the basis of a "strong, constructive agreement".

"This is not a real estate project and I am not a real estate businessman... If some people have doubts, they could approach the court as the lease assignment is subject to the laws of the land," asserted Ali, a retail chain magnate whose LuLu group runs a string of hyper and supermarkets in the Gulf and other parts of the world.

Ali said his plan is to set up a mega convention centre with a capacity to host 4,000-6,000 people, hotels, including a Grand Hyatt and service apartments as extension of the hotels.

The project was not conceived with profit-and-loss concerns and its work would start in three months from now, he said.