KERALA

`Chandy should not sign Smart City deal now'



Special Correspondent

Pinarayi says CPI(M) against the project in its present form



KOCHI: CPI(M) general secretary Pinarayi Vijayan says it is `inappropriate' for the UDF Government to sign the agreement on Kochi's Smart City project against the strong reservations of the main Opposition party, particularly when the Assembly elections are just a few months away.

"It's not an appropriate thing for the Chief Minister to do at this time," Mr. Vijayan told a news conference held at Fort Kochi on the arrival of his `Kerala March' in Ernakulam district on Friday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had recently announced that the State Government would sign the agreement with the Dubai Internet City on January 31.

Mr. Vijayan said his party opposed the Smart City project in its current form, but was not against the project as such. "We are not against the project, but against certain provisions of the agreement like the transfer of the Infopark to the Smart City."

He said the Infopark, on which the Government had spent Rs.72 crores and which owned 62 acres, was poised for tremendous growth. His party wanted the park to continue in its current form and suggested the Smart City be set up on other locations.

He alleged that the Smart City agreement compromised with the State's interests. For instance, Dubai Internet City would get assets valued at Rs. 1,000 crores by spending just Rs.366 crores. Mr. Vijayan, however, did not spell out what the LDF would do to undo the alleged harm if it came to power in the next election.

Asked about the move by the five city corporations, run by the LDF, to borrow money from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for their urban projects, Mr. Vijayan, whose party had led a long agitation against World Bank loans, said that such loans were fine if they did not hurt the State's interests.



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