Staff Reporter

‘Company not facing financial crisis’

Issue of freehold land holding up project

Land not for making real estate gains: company

KOCHI: Even as the stalemate over the future of the proposed SmartCity Kochi project continues, the promoters of the project are looking forward to the possibility of a high-level delegation led by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan visiting their headquarters at Dubai sometime in the near future.

While such a visit would not immediately resolve the contentious issue of freehold rights over 12 per cent land, that had been the bone of contention holding up the project for quite some time now, SmartCity authorities believe that such a visit would at least put to rest the apprehensions over the financial position of the company.

They hope that it would also put an end to the allegations that the company was insisting on freehold rights just to make real estate gains to ease its precarious financial status.

The Cabinet members, including Mr. Achuthanandan, had repeatedly alleged that SmartCity had been badly hit by recession and was hence deliberately employing delaying tactics to buy time.

Dubai World crisis

The crisis of Dubai World, the flagship company of the Dubai government, only seemed to have cemented that belief.

Last time, when Mr. Achuthanandan repeated the allegation during one of his routine post-Cabinet briefings, SmartCity responded by issuing an invitation for him to visit Dubai to see the state of affairs of the company for himself. If sources were to be believed the government has not yet accepted or turned down that invitation.

In response to a questionnaire submitted by The Hindu earlier this month, Fareed Abdulrahman, Chief Executive Officer of SmartCity Kochi, reiterated their position.

“It is important that the government of Kerala - decision makers visit Dubai to hold further discussions so that they are convinced of our commitment and can see the kind of quality infrastructure SmartCity plans to bring to Kochi similar to what exists in Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City,” he said.