Dubai team for Smart City project arrives in Kochi


Kochi : A team of Dubai Internet City (DIC) officials arrived here Sunday to begin discussions to take the Rs.15 billion-Smart City project forward, a week after the opposition Congress demanded a probe into the agreement claiming it was inked with a private firm and not the Dubai government.

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The team, led by DIC official Baju George, began discussions with Kerala government officials on laying the road map for starting construction at the proposed site here.

The Kerala team is led by IT secretary K. Jyothilal. The final agreement for the project was inked May 13 with Tecom Investment and Free Zone Limited Liability Company in the presence of Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

"The master plan for the project would be ready soon," said George.

According to the agreement, the Dubai team has to begin preliminary work within 90 days of its signing while the actual construction would begin in a year's time.

The opposition alleges that the company (with which the deal has been signed) is a real estate firm and it has approached European investors to raise funds for the Smart City project.

The previous Congress-led United Democratic Front government led by then chief minister Oommen Chandy had held talks with the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority and signed a memorandum of agreement (MoU) with it.

After the Achuthanandan government signed the agreement, Chandy and his associates demanded a judicial probe alleging that changes had been made in the conditions applicable to the developer after the state cabinet had approved it.