Formal notification of 246 acres as special zone to be issued soon

With the State government filing a letter with the Board of Approval (BoA) of the Union Commerce Ministry specifying the character of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) it prefers for the proposed SmartCity Kochi project, decks have been cleared for the formal notification of the entire 246 acres of the project as SEZ.

The meeting of the BoA slated for Monday is likely to take up the matter and the formal gazette notification is expected to be issued soon thereafter.

The last meeting of the BoA held in September had approved SEZ status for the remaining 114 acres as 132 acres had already received the approval in March. The BoA was agreeable to notifying the entire project area either as a single SEZ or multiple SEZ but had asked the State government to formally convey its preference.

“The State government has filed the letter opting for a single SEZ,” Baju George, Managing Director of SmartCity (India), told The Hindu on Friday.

The BoA notification will lay to rest apprehensions over whether the entire project site would be notified as a single SEZ as there was a water body separating the land into two parts. Initially, it was feared that single SEZ status would not be granted on account of contiguity factor.

Mr. George said that a team of the New York-based Cannon Design is working on the concept master plan and that it would be ready by January. He said that the construction of the first phase of the SmartCity Kochi project will be launched in January.

The road shows and sales promotion campaigns for attracting investments to the SmartCity Kochi will also kick start on January. “We are already in discussion with developers and IT companies,” Mr. George said.

He felt that IT investors within the country should be given more prominence though international players are also important. “At present, the IT and ITES production in India is to the tune of 88 billion dollars. However, the IT Policy of the Union government envisages it to touch 300 billion dollars in another decade, which means that companies within the country will have to expand by more than three-fold. SmartCity Kochi will be a success even if we manage to get a share of that expansion,” Mr. George said.

Stating that the next meeting of the board of directors of the company will be held in January, he said that the idea is to conduct it in the upcoming new pavilion at the project site.

New York-based Cannon Design working on concept master plan for the project.