The Dubai-based promoters’ response to the recent government letter will decide the fate of the proposed SmartCity Kochi project, said Fisheries and Registration Minister S. Sarma.
Talking to reporters after one of the briefest director board meetings of the project here on Monday, Mr. Sarma, who is also the chairman of SmartCity Kochi, said that the next meeting of the Cabinet will decide on the additional time sought by SmartCity to reply to the letter.
The government had sought a reply within 15 days to the letter it had send early this month asking the promoters to take immediate steps to launch the project. The Chief Executive Officer of SmartCity Fareed Abdulrahman, however, wrote to the chief secretary asking for time till the end of this month.
Mr. Sarma said that the meeting was held to comply with the statutory requirement under the Companies Act and did not discuss any issues like the prospects of a legal battle.
Later, addressing a press conference Mr. Abdulrahman said that the company would response before the end of this month. Asked about the purported delay in replying, he said that SmartCity had taken the letter seriously and wanted the reply to be very “realistic.”
“We want the reply to include the best solutions and recommendations to take the project forward. Pointing fingers and repeatedly stating the problems would never take us anywhere,” the CEO said. He, however, said that the response to the letter “not necessarily” see a change in the company’s stand on outstanding issues.
While expressing optimism about the project, Mr. Abdulrahman, however, said that SmartCity was on a sound legal footing if things ended up in a court of law. The confidence, he said, was borne out of the framework agreement which was clear about the obligations of both the partners.
He said that SmartCity was committed to its Kochi project for it was bigger than the issues surrounding it.