Preparation of master plan to begin after concept master plan is approved by board of directors.

Preparation of a full-fledged master plan for the proposed SmartCity Kochi will begin as soon as the concept master plan, which is ready, is approved by the board of directors.

In an e-mail interview to The Hindu, SmartCity Kochi managing director Baju George said that the concept master plan would be brought before the SmartCity Kochi board members and Special Economic Zone authorities for their approval in the next board meeting to be held later this month in Thiruvananthapuram. “After incorporating suggestions from SmartCity Kochi board, SEZ authorities and others, it will be developed into full-fledged master plan,” he said.

Once the concept master plan is approved, the date for the launch of road shows from Bangalore to showcase the project will also be decided. The road show in Bangalore is planned as a gala event to launch the master plan, Mr. George said.

Asked about the initial plans to hold the director board meeting in the company's new pavilion at the project site at Edachira, Mr. George admitted to “slight delay” due to some unanticipated hold-ups in procurement of materials. He hoped to hold the next director board meeting in the second quarter of the financial year in the new pavilion. While launching the construction work of the pavilion in October last, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said that it would be completed within 14 weeks.

Mr. George said that the technical team from SmartCity Kochi was still in discussions with the authorities at GAIL with regard to the laying of pipelines through the project area.

The company had expressed apprehensions that the presence of pipelines would raise security concerns, scaring away global clients.

SmartCity has also decided to associate closely with the Labour Department, National Skill Development Council and other stakeholders in its initiative for setting up a soft skill development academy. “Kerala has a huge talent pool and this skill development academy will help this talent to be industry-ready. We also will be working with major knowledge companies to ensure that training is aligned with their expectations,” Mr. George said.

Sharing the salient features of the concept master plan, Mr. George said that it visualised a highly efficient live-work concept that could attract and retain knowledge workers. It has made provision to take care of every aspects of knowledge workers' life like their children's education, health care, shopping, residence etc. Smart infrastructure will be a differentiator for the project, he said. He said that buildings for SmartCity Kochi will be eco-friendly, in keeping with the company's policy to ensure that all its global townships comply with green concepts.

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