Kerala’s Smart City project is unlikely to materialise: UDF


Thiruvananthapuram : The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Monday expressed fears that the much talked about Rs.15 billion “Smart City” project proposed in Kochi is unlikely to materialise.

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“Things have reached a point of no return and it appears that we have lost the project,” UDF convenor P.P. Thankachen said after a party meeting.

The project was given to Dubai-based firm Internet City.

“We say this because nothing has happened barring few talks. Precious time has been lost and nothing has moved at the site and it appears that this mega project has been lost to the state because of the callous attitude of the Left government,” he said.

The foundation stone of the project was laid Nov 16, 2007 by chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan. Since then, barring five board meetings, there has been no movement in the project.

Last month, Achuthanandan had alleged that the UDF is out to scuttle this project and when this was pointed out to Thankachen, he shot back saying that they are not a destructive political front.

“See, this project is the baby of Oommen Chandy, the then chief minister in 2006. We could have signed the agreement as the High Court gave us the permission, but we did not do it. And then Achuthanandan’s government signed the agreement. We will not kill our baby and the Left are to be solely blamed,” said Thankachen.

So far, for the project’s first phase, only 136 acres were granted SEZ clearance last year while for the remaining 110 acres clearance is yet to be secured.

The project is slated to come up on a 246-acre plot, with an 8.8 million square feet of built-up space, of which 70 percent is earmarked for IT and IT-enabled Services.