SmartCity will decide on the future course of action, including the possibility of adopting the legal route, about its project here within two months’ time.
Talking to reporters over breakfast ahead of the 23rd board meeting of SmartCity Kochi here on Friday, Fareed Abdulrahman, the CEO of Dubai-based SmartCity, hinted that the two month period was effectively a chance given to the mission by the government representative M.A. Yousuf Ali to succeed.
Asked whether SmartCity would adopt a legal route out if the mission fails, Mr. Abdulrahman’s response was “yes if that’s the last resort.”
All through the interaction, the CEO was at pains to describe Mr. Ali as a State government representative and not a mediator. A mediator has to be someone unanimously nominated by both the parties, he said while making it clear that SmartCity had no part in the perceived mediatory role given to Mr. Ali.
He, however, was quick to add that the promoters had full respect for any representative appointed by the government and was willing to hold talks to find a solution to the stalemate over the project.
Asked about Mr. Ali holding talks with UAE and Tecom authorities, Mr. Abdulrahman said that SmartCity and Tecom do not end with one Fareed Abdulrahman. (SmartCity is a joint venture between TECOM Investments and Sama Dubai).
Admitting that he had not yet met Mr. Ali, the CEO said that was because he had been travelling a lot of late. He, however, said that he was prepared to meet him any time.
Asked whether the company wanted freehold rights on 12 per cent land within or outside the project site notified as Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Mr. Abdulrahman said that there was nothing called freehold within the ambit of SEZ. “It’s always outside the SEZ. The government had accepted it and that’s why its there in the original framework agreement,” he said.
Mr. Abdulrahman said that there was no question of compromising or negotiating on the original framework agreement. “Compromise could have happened before the agreement and not after it,” he said.
Asked whether he felt the next government would compromise on the freeholds rights right by accepting it, he said that if that happens it cannot be considered a compromise but accepting what’s in the framework agreement.
Asked whether he was unhappy with the appointment of a representative by the government, Mr. Abdulrahman said that it was not about him but the project.
“Go around the SmartCity Kochi project area and see how many other ventures have come up in the hope of this project happening,” he said.