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Concerted efforts to secure SEZ status for SmartCity

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Staff Reporter

Chief Executive denies delay in the launch of the project

Consultant for master plans to be appointed

KOCHI: The State government and SmartCity Kochi would make concerted efforts to secure a single Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status covering the entire area of the proposed SmartCity project here.

This was one of the three major decisions taken at a meeting of the board of directors of SmartCity Kochi held here on Thursday.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Fisheries Minister S. Sarma, who is also chairman of SmartCity Kochi, said the State government and SmartCity would jointly approach the Central government seeking a single SEZ status for the entire 246 acres of land of the project after evaluating its possibility.

Or else, the SEZ status already received for 136 acres will be retained and a separate application would be made for the remaining 100 acres, he said.

Another major decision was to appoint a project management consultancy to coordinate the master plans, the overall master plan and the one being drawn up for infrastructure development. The United States-based Hill International has been shortlisted as consultant for this purpose, Mr. Sarma said.

Lease agreement

Another decision was to sign a lease agreement for 11.5 acres, which was left out of the agreement signed last November, within a week. This portion was exempted then since the inhabitants were yet to move out.

Talking on the sidelines of the meeting Fareed Abdulrahman, Chief Executive Officer, SmartCity, said that SmartCity Malta would have a positive influence on the project in Kochi.

He differed with comments that the progress of SmartCity Kochi was tardy compared to the similar project in Malta, the first phase of which was launched last month.

SmartCity Kochi is four times the size of SmartCity Malta and hence would take that much more time, he said.

Ajay Kumar, secretary, State Information Technology; Anirudh Danke, board member; Jin Wan Choi, Director (strategies), SmartCity; Sulaiman Al-Riyami, manager, strategies and marketing, SmartCity; and Mithun Beeru, business development manager, SmartCity Kochi; attended the meeting.

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