The State government will nominate A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, former Ernakulam district collector and serving managing director of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation – Kerala, to the post of the Chief Executive Officer of SmartCity Kochi, a highly-placed government source told The Hindu.

Mr. Hanish is being considered for the post and that the announcement will be made this month, the source said. The name will be placed before the board of directors and the appointment will take effect subject to the approval of the board.

Though the decision to appoint a CEO based in Kochi was not originally in the scheme of things, there will be no delay on the part of the government, the source said.

Meeting in Dubai

A meeting of the board of directors held in Dubai last week had decided to appoint a CEO to act as a link between the State government and Tecom, the Dubai-based promoters of the project. The post has been lying vacant ever since Fareed Abdulrahman quit following a rift with the previous Left Democratic Front government over the promoters’ claim of freehold rights on 12 per cent of the project land.

The project is expected to get a fresh impetus with the appointment of the CEO coming as it does after the Board of Approval on SEZ of the Union Commerce Ministry granting single SEZ status to the entire 246 acres of the project.

Mr. Hanish said that he was unaware of any such development as there was no official or unofficial intimation to that effect.

Mr. Hanish is not alien to SmartCity Kochi as he was closely associated with the project from its very inception as the district collector. He played a significant role in drawing up the rehabilitation package, which was hailed as a model and set a benchmark of sorts for future projects, for the evictees.

Under the package, every displaced family was given six cents of land each while those who lost 15 cents or more were given an additional five cents at the price at which the government bought their land. Besides, nuclear families within the joint families also received the benefit.

Mr. Hanish’s stint as Collector had been credible except for a few blemishes, like the forceful evictions at Moolamppilly for the Vallarpadam project that brought him quite a few brickbats. The eviction drive in the district, especially the drive along the M.G. Road, could be counted as one of the highpoints of his tenure, which lasted till April 2008. He has also served as the Director of Public Instruction.

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