Staff Reporter

KOCHI: There are still legal hurdles before the State Government to sign an agreement with Dubai Internet City for implementing the Smart City project in the city, says a group of social activists, including M.N. Vijayan and C.R. Neelakandan.

At a press conference here on Thursday, Prof. Vijayan said the proposed agreement had not been discussed in the Legislature. The project would affect the coming generations, and its terms needed to be made public, he added.

Mr. Neelakandan said it was not because of opposition from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had decided not to sign the agreement now. The pact did not have the approval of the Governor; it had not been discussed with him, he added.

Prof. Vijayan said a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court was yet to hear a writ petition filed by Adhinivesa Pradhirodha Samithi against the project.

The hearing was postponed because the Government informed the court that there would be no action on Smart City for now.

The activists said although the initial understanding was that the project would generate 33,000 jobs, in the final agreement, it had been said that it would either be 20,000 jobs or 20-lakh square feet of built-up space within 10 years of launching the project.

If this condition was not met, the promoter of the project would be able to wriggle out of the agreement by paying Rs. 12 crores in compensation that is, Rs. 6,000 a job it failed to create.

They called upon the Government to come clean on the project.

The Government had refused information technology companies, such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), permission to set up shop here during the last one year.

Mr. Neelakandan said if these companies were allowed to do so, nearly 10,000 jobs would have been created.

V.P. Vasudevan, general secretary of the samithi; T.P. Pareethkunju, convenor of Edachira Bhoovudama Samithi; and Shivan Madathil, general secretary, Kerala Manushyavakasa Samrakshana Samithi, participated in the press conference.