Smart City discussions with Dubai company positive

By Indo Asian News Service | Sunday, September 24, 2006 | 11:38:43 AM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comment 0 Comment

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 24 (IANS) Talks with Dubai Internet City (DIC) officials on Kerala's proposed Smart City project were positive, said state officials on their return from the Gulf state.

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 24 (IANS) Talks with Dubai Internet City (DIC) officials on Kerala's proposed Smart City project were positive, said state officials on their return from the Gulf state.

'The talks went on well and we are positive. Now it is the Kerala government that has to decide on certain issues and since those are policy decisions we are unable to comment on it,' said Sheila Thomas, secretary to Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan who was part of the four-member team that returned Saturday night.

State Information Technology (IT) Secretary P.G. Tenzing, Suresh Kumar, additional secretary to Achuthanandan and IT expert Joseph C. Mathew were the other team members that held discussions with DIC officials.

Officials from DIC are expected to arrive next month after the Kerala cabinet discusses their demands this week.

DIC has demanded that the land price fixed at Rs.3 million per acre be reduced and the number of jobs to be provided be decreased from the stipulated 90,000.

The DIC team had come here in August in order to revive the proposed Rs.15 billion Smart City project. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the project was inked with the previous Oommen Chandy government in October last year.

Achuthanandan, as leader of opposition (2001-06), had opposed the transfer to DIC of the existing Infopark campus at Kochi. The transfer had been agreed to by Chandy.

The new proposals are totally different to what Chandy had cleared.

As per the new proposal, Kerala would lease around 210 acres of land to DIC for a specific price, no free land would be given to the Dubai company and the Infopark campus at Kochi would not be transferred to DIC.

It also stipulates that the project should provide 90,000 jobs in 10 years.

Under the earlier inked MoU, the company was contracted to provide a mere 25,000 jobs for the 100 acres of land that they would have got for free, apart from handing over the Infopark to DIC.

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