Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said here on Tuesday that government would soon take a decision on dropping of the Smart City Project in Kochi.
The Chief Minister told the media after a meeting of the Cabinet that the Dubai based promoters, TECOM, had been delaying implementation of the project raising issues outside the agreement between them and the government. They had not taken a single step for construction of buildings in the land allocated to them and generate the 90000 job opportunities promised by them. The Cabinet had taken the necessary decisions to deal with the situation and the details would be announced soon.
Mr. Achuthanandan said that the government could generate 1.10 lakh jobs at the Infopark in Kochi which it had decided not to be brought under the Smart City Project.
He said that the government was not aware of the SkyCity project and would seek details from the Principal Secretary (Industries) about the letters he had reportedly written to the Centre in that regard.
Rules on lotteries
The Chief Minister said that he had proposed changes to the rules framed under the Kerala Tax on Lotteries Act to ensure that the rules were in tune with the provisions of the Act. (The Chief Minister had directed that the rule requiring production of certificate by lottery distributors from the Central government on compliance with Central Lotteries Act should be dropped. He had earlier insisted upon other provisions to ensure compliance.) However, a few newspapers and the Opposition had campaigned that the rule was changed to help the lottery mafia. If the change helped the lottery distributors, they would already have approached the government with tax to run the lotteries and benefit from the change. Besides, it was notable that the court had also made no adverse remarks about the changes made while considering the case filed by lottery distributors.
Mr. Achuthanandan said that he would be writing to the Centre urging that rehabilitation packages should be included in the proposal for land acquisition for development of the National Highways 47 and 17.
The Cabinet had considered the suggestion from the Union Minister for Surface Transport and Highways Kamal Nath regarding widening of the highways to 45 metres. However, Mr. Nath had proposed only payment of compensation at rates proposed by the State government to evictees.
The all-party meeting convened by the State government had sought both compensation and rehabilitation packages. This would be communicated to the Union Ministry as the proposal of the Kerala government.