Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the work on the first phase of the SmartCity project will start before October 31 and will be completed in a year.

Talking to the presspersons after discussions with Dubai-based promoters of the project (TECOM) and a meeting of the Director Board of SmartCity India here on Thursday, the Chief Minister said that TECOM would reopen its office in Kochi on August 31.

The foundation stone for the headquarters building would be laid before October 31. TECOM would apply for industrial township status for the project area in 10 days and the government would issue the notification in 15 days.

Mr. Chandy said four acres of land belonging to the Kerala State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) would be allotted additionally to the project. It would be as per rules and guidelines for allocation of land by the Kinfra.

Exemptions

He said the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had agreed to eight specific exemptions for the project in the agreement reached early this year. However, no orders had been issued. These would not be issued by the government now. But the government would go by all clauses of the agreement signed by the previous government.

Though it would have liked to revert to earlier agreement signed by the UDF government in 2006, TECOM had pointed out that revival of that agreement would cause further delays.

He clarified that TECOM would be required to use 70 per cent of the built-up area for Information Technology business and the rest for other commercial purposes. In the case of land, the stipulation would be to use 50 per cent of the area for Information Technology projects in tune with the national policy. The government had announced under the 100-day programme that 50:50 policy would be made applicable to all IT projects in the State.

Metro rail

The government would examine the request of the promoters for extension of the Metro Rail Project to the SmartCity. Steps would be taken for widening of roads connecting the project areas.

Talks would be held with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and GAIL (India) Limited on June 25 regarding supply of electricity and gas to the project area.

The Director Board had approved the appointment of Minister for Industries and Information Technology P.K. Kunhalikutty and Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) T. Balakrishnan as directors. Mr. Kunhalikutty and his team would visit Dubai soon on invitation from TECOM.

The team said that preparation of the master plan for the project and construction of the headquarters building would be taken up simultaneously.

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