Construction of buildings to begin soon after

The master plan of the SmartCity Kochi project will be completed in the third week of September, said Abdullatif AlMulla, CEO of Tecom Group of Companies.

Delivering a special address at a session on IT and IT Enabled Services at the Emerging Kerala summit in Kochi on Friday, he said that Tecom plans to kick-start the construction of the first IT building soon thereafter, in consultations with the State government.

Mr. AlMulla had the audience in splits when he started his address by talking about one unique asset of the State. “They have a unique negotiation skill. The dealings with the State government over the years have left me wiser,” he said amidst the laughter.

Mr. AlMulla said that the proposed SmartCity Kochi would not focus on IT alone. It would also have clusters on media, finance, and entertainment.

He said that transportation will become increasingly difficult in the State, not least because of the frequent fuel price hikes. That is why SmartCity Kochi is crucial as it is an integrated township based on the ‘live and work’ concept, he said.

Enhancing facilities

Earlier, Principal IT Secretary P.H. Kurian made a presentation on the investment opportunities that the State has to offer in the IT and ITES sectors.

He said that the State plans to enhance its built-up IT space from 11 million sq.ft. to 42 million sq.ft. Mr. Kurian elaborated on the hub-and-spoke model being followed by the State in the IT sector. Of the 1,600 acres available for the IT sector, 600 acres are available for lease.

He said that a highly literate human resource is spread evenly across the State, enabling companies to leverage the hub-and-spoke model.

Mr. Kurian said that three kinds of investment opportunities are available in the State. Investments can be made for the co-development of SEZ and non-SEZ space in IT parks, as well as for setting up IT/ITES development centres. Concessions are available for setting up private IT parks.

G. Vijayaraghavan, member, State Planning Board, welcomed the gathering. Pradeep Udhas of KPMG made the theme address. The inaugural session was followed by a panel discussion.

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