The Kerala government is all set to handover a letter again to the Tecom company as a final warning for clarifying its stance regarding the much awaited Smart city project in Kochi. The decision was taken in the cabinet meeting held today.

TECOM, the promoters of the project, has been asking for 12% freehold land right whereby they will even be able to sell the land. TECOM had announced that jobs would be offered to 90,000 persons, when the project is ready. But, so far not even a single person has obtained any job. They are delaying the project by raising unnecessary things.

As of now, Smart City project is clouded by uncertainties. If it fails, then it could bring about a big loss, both in money-wise and employment-wise and the sole responsibility will be the politics in Kerala.

NRI consortium gives hope for Smart City Kochi project

NRI consortium Smart City Kochi projectAmidst widespread rumours regarding the state government withdrawing from the agreement on the Smart City project with Tecom, an Abu Dhabi-based NRI consortium has come forward eyeing the project.

With the Smart City project getting delayed for a long time, the state government is considering alternatives. The NRI consortium stands a better chance as the controversial clause of ‘freehold’ does not figure in their wish list.
Sources in the NRI team confirmed that they have already held a discussion in this regard with certain officials. The team plans to meet the state government officials and will communicate to the government that they are ready to invest according to the terms of reference set by the government.

Sources said the consortium has already consulted a firm experienced in setting up special economic zones (SEZs) in India. According to the firm’s advice, the consortium has decided to prepare a business proposal. A sum of `1 crore has been set apart to conduct a study with a firm called KPMG, in Abu Dhabi. A detailed feasibility report (DFR) will be prepared on various aspects of the project.
“When a Union Minister visited Abu Dhabi, the NRI team expressed its interest to invest in the Smart City project if the agreement between the state government and Tecom does not work. It was based on the minister’s instruction that we contacted the office of Registration Minister S Sarma and the SEZ office in Kochi. We have already formed a core group to deal with the project,” sources in the Abu Dhabi team told Express.

According to the initial concept, the draft report will be prepared by March 2011. “We need to identify a co-developer. The financial model will be finalised by May 2011 and a potential financial partner will be identified. A report will be submitted to the state government by June 2011. The land acquisition will be made by the end of the year,” the sources said.

The team is planning a public issue of shares through the stock market. The project cost has been fixed at `2,100 crore, of which half the amount will be bank loans. The team is looking for development without sales rights.
The concept began when some of the members of the consortium met at an alumni meet in Kerala.
“We communicated with others who had similar interests. A company has not been registered yet as we are planning to take a final decision after the feasibility study,” sources said. A final picture on the initiative taken by the consortium will be made by June 2011.

Highly placed sources said two business magnates from Kerala who have already established vast business networks in India and abroad are also behind the initiative.

With discussions between the government and Tecom reaching a dead end, the NRI consortium is hopeful of taking over the project.
The KSEB has claimed that it has not constructed any structures as part of the proposed 1026-mW gas-based power plant at Brahmapuram on the 100 acres of land that was to have been handed over to SmartCity.

Sources in SmartCity had alleged that some unauthorised construction was being carried out in the land proposed to be allotted to it.

KSEB official said that the board had not made any civil works in connection with the power project as it was still on the drawing table. Even the foundation stone for the project had not been laid; hence there was no question of building any structures as part of the project now.

Skycity Kochi

What is Skycity Kochi Project?
Skycity Kochi / Cochin - KeralaYasoram Skycity is a Flyover, designed with the prime intention of reducing traffic in Kochi City and for boosting tourism and economic activity of the region.

The Skycity will extend from Kundannoor near NH 47 Byepass in the south to Sahodaran Ayyappan Road in the north, passing above the Chilavannoor Bund Road and the Backwaters. Another stretch of the Skycity will extend from the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road to the Subhash Chandrabose Road

  • Flyover bridge that runs 30 ft above land and backwaters
  • 3 storied shopping complexes, residential apartments and commercial hubs
  • Supermarkets, community halls, entertainment multiplexes, restaurants, hotels, garment and jewellery showrooms, two and three wheeler automobile showrooms etc.
  • Corporate offices, business centres, IT/ITES and BPO operations, Banking and financial institutions etc.
  • Amusement centres, health centres, water sports facility, oceanarium, theme park
  • 12 m wide 4 lane expressway
  • 5 m wide car parking on both sides of the road and additional car parking on the building top – facility can accomodate 7,500 cars in all
  • 2 m wide footpaths on both sides
  • 6.6 m wide building on base floor and 8.6 m wide building on the first and second floors on both sides
  • Cable car at an 80 ft height offering panoramic view of Kochi city

Skycity Kochi
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Sobha Hi-Tech City:Rs 5,000 cr Kochi project on course

Sobha Hi-Tech CityBangalore-based realty major Sobha Developers has said its Rs 5,000 crore hi-tech city project in Kochi is delayed as the company is awaiting clearances from the central government.

While necessary state approvals are in, the clearances from the Centre under the Coastal Regulation Management Act and environmental clearances are yet to be attained, Sobha Developers senior official Mr Mathew Francis said. The mega project was to come up at Maradu village on Kochi outskirts.

“On receipt of these clearances only, the master plan for the project can be submitted for final approval,” Mr Francis, who is the area head, said.

Way back in August 2007, Sobha had inked an MoU with Kerala to build a Rs 5,000 crore ‘Sobha Hi-Tech City’ The pact involved the company developing a 400 acre and the state had agreed to bring the project under single-window clearance, besides agreeing t o provide electricity, gas, water, sewerage system, telecom etc.

The project would offer seven million sqft of knowledge park, shopping malls and avenues, hotels, resorts and leisure and entertainment facilities, residential complexes and all related infrastructure including world-class marina.

On completion, the ‘Sobha Hi-Tech City’ is expected generate 75,000 direct jobs. The project was initially proposed to be completed in eight years.

On the heels of company selling its 50 acres in prime Pune IT corridor for Rs 114 crore, a section of media has reported that the company was thinking of monetising the huge swathe of land near the commercial capital of Kerala.

Dismissing these reports as baseless, Mr Francis said that the company is not abandoning the mega project.

If stayed on course, this would be one of the largest investments in the otherwise investment-starved Kerala.

Meanwhile, the first phase of Sobha City in neighbouring Thrissur is is already complete, Mr Francis said.

The Sobha City spans over 55 acres and consists of 18 lakh sq ft of residential space and over five lakh sq ft of commercial space. The group has 80 acres of land in Thrissur and it is awaiting government approval for the remaining 25 acres.

Mr Francis said the company reported a two-fold jump in net profit at Rs 58.9 crore for the quarter ended September. - PTI

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The Congress’s Kerala unit Thursday demanded that the proposed Rs.1,500-crore Smart City Kochi mega IT project should go ahead with the participation of the Dubai government.

Addressing reporters here, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy said this project has to go ahead with the Dubai government because it is an international venture.

“If the state government does anything without them, then it is not going to be a Smart City. This project has been hanging fire for a few years now, and knowing the importance of this mega project, we had offered our full support to see that this project becomes a reality,” he said.

Chandy’s reaction came after the V.S. Achuthanandan-led Left Front government Tuesday announced that very soon it will decide on the fate of the project and would not hesitate to go ahead with the project without Smart City Dubai.

The first round of talks between the Kerala government and TECOM, the venture of the Dubai government which had set up Smart City Dubai, took place between 2004-06 when Chandy was the chief minister, and it was near the end of his tenure that the proposal for Smart City Kochi was inked.

But following stiff opposition from the then leader of opposition V.S.Achuthanandan, who contended that Smart City Dubai had no experience in IT and was merely a real estate company, Chandy did not go ahead with the project - even after the Kerala High Court gave him the green signal.

But Achuthanandan, after becoming the chief minister in 2006, inked the proposal again with Smart City Dubai in 2007, just ahead of the first anniversary of his government.

Three years later and after 22 director board meetings of Smart City Kochi, the Kerala government has been adamant that under no circumstances can the freehold property, which Smart City Dubai will be getting for the project, be sold.

Smart City Dubai is sticking to the agreement which accords to it 12 percent freehold rights.
Smart City Kochi: Kerala to take final decision Tuesday (16th November 2010)Fisheries Minister S. Sarma Monday said that the state Cabinet will take the final decision on the Smart City project in Kochi.

The government doesn't agree with the demand of Dubai-based firm TECOM for free hold land, he said.

The stands taken by the company are not in tune with the agreements signed by the two parties, he said.

Sarma, talking to the newspersons here, said that the company stands firm by its demand for having free hold on 12 per cent of the land as it was reiterated in a recently received letter too.

TECOM inaugurate first office building at SmartCity Malta

TECOM inaugurate first office building at SmartCity MaltaTECOM Investments, a member of Dubai Holding, has achieved a major milestone with the official inauguration of the first office building (SCM01) at SmartCity Malta. The dedicated IT business park is TECOM Investments' first overseas venture undertaken by SmartCity, TECOM Investments' international business parks developer.

Among those attending the inauguration were Malta's Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt, Dubai Holding CEO Ahmad Bin Byat, TECOM Investments' Group CEO Abdullatif AlMulla, and SmartCity Chief Executive Officer Fareed Abdulrahman.

Speaking at the inauguration, Dr Gonzi said: "We are today witnessing the beginning of a renaissance for Malta and for our economy. SCM01 is yet another symbol of Malta's investment attractiveness, strong economic fundamentals and potential. This is the realisation of a dream. A dream that sees Malta become a regional and global player in ICT."

The SmartCity Malta model is based on TECOM Investments' successful business parks, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village.

Bin Byat said SmartCity Malta is a testimony to the strong bond that exists between TECOM Investments and the Maltese government. He added: "Our joint intention is to develop SmartCity Malta into a major new centre of excellence for knowledge based companies. I believe SmartCity Malta will make a significant contribution to Malta's economy, by opening up new development avenues, specifically in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors."

The delivery of the 12,000 square metres of office space, three years after the announcement of the ambitious project, marks the end of the first phase of the construction of SmartCity Malta.

AlMulla said: "This is the first international project to become operational for TECOM Investments. I am confident this is the first of many projects we will launch worldwide. SmartCity Malta will help to facilitate UAE-based companies expansion into Europe, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai."

SmartCity Malta is the centerpiece of Malta's transformation from an old economy based on low-cost manufacturing to a new economy based on information and communication technology (ICT). It will generate 5,600 jobs and create more than 105,000 sq m of office space for ICT, media companies and related services.

The entire development is designed to enable knowledge-based companies to maximize their growth potential. While companies will benefit from high-quality infrastructure and support systems, knowledge workers will gain an ideal environment to work, network, and exchange ideas and industry information.

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The SmartCity

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