KERALA

Smart City: Jacob alleges flouting of convention

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: : The Kerala Congress (Jacob) leader T. M. Jacob has alleged that the Law Department had flouted the convention and the existing rules and regulation in clearing the contract agreement for the Smart City Project, proposed to be established in Kochi.

In a statement here on Friday, Mr. Jacob said the usual practice was for the Cabinet to clear the terms and conditions for a particular project after the Law Department gave its opinion and legal opinion in writing. This being the rule and convention, the contract for the Smart City Project was first cleared by the Cabinet and then sent to the Law Department for its approval.

He said that information about who had prepared the draft agreement for Smart City and at what level it had been scrutinised had not been disclosed so far. The Law Department had purposefully not pointed out the terms and conditions that were detrimental to the State's interest.

Mr. Jacob pointed out that the concessions promised by the Information Technology Policy were meant for IT investors. But the Law Department did not point out that the concessions being extended to Dubai Internet City for its proposed Smart City Project for infrastructure development was against this policy. The Law Department did not point out that the jobs promised in the draft agreement should be provided to people from the State.

The Law Department also did not point out that the State Government would not have the right to examine the provisions related to employment generation unless it entered into separate agreements with each of the companies investing in Smart City. The Law Department remained silent about the penalty provisions relating to providing employment which was considerably low at Rs.6,000 when compared to the huge investments in creating 3.25 lakh sq ft. built-up space spread over 298.27 acres, he said.

Mr. Jacob also put the Law Department in the dock for failing to point out the implications of fixing the State's equity at 9 per cent in the proposed project.

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