Kochi

SmartCity plans three more project phases

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Technical team working on phases III, IV and V, says new CEO Manoj Nair

Amid speculation regarding the future of SmartCity Kochi, a flagship IT township project originally conceived as a joint venture between the State government and the Dubai-based Tecom Investments, its new chief executive officer Manoj Nair has said that planning was already afoot for an additional three phases for the project.

Talking to The Hindu at the SmartCity Kochi project office here on Friday, Mr. Nair recalled that SmartCity Kochi had only two phases originally. “Out technical team is working on the components, cost, timing and funding of phases III, IV and V. They will be the last three phases by which time the infrastructure will be built out and the entire parcel of land will be opened up. We are not waiting for the phase II to complete by 2020-21 to start working on phase III, which will kick in by 2019-end,” Mr. Nair said.

He claimed that 6 million sq.ft of IT built-up space under the first two phases would be ready by 2020-21 at a combined investment of ₹2,000 crore by SmartCity and its co-developers.

Once fully filled, the two phases would collectively create around 55,000 direct IT jobs. When pointed out that the commitment in the framework agreement was to generate 90,000 jobs, Mr. Nair said that it was either to build 6.1 million sq.ft of IT space or 90,000 jobs. “That does not mean that the number 90,000 has disappeared but it will depend on how the remaining land is taken. We will create infrastructure facilitating new projects which, in turn, will create new jobs,” he said.

Refusing to be drawn into a blame game over the delay in the project, Mr. Nair said that he would rather look forward rather than dwell on the past. He said that SmartCity got caught in a perception warp and was reduced to a single IT building while the infrastructure created alongside went “unmarketed”. “While building and number of jobs is a fair measure of success, so is the infrastructure to be created over a decade. So, it should be seen in the light of a composite development of an integrated township,” Mr. Nair said.

He also batted for drawing up a destination marketing strategy collectively by IT parks and the government, positioning Kerala as an attractive IT destination. He expressed hope that the forthcoming Global Digital Summit in Kochi would go a long way in doing that.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 10:16:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/smartcity-plans-three-more-project-phases/article22913274.ece

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