Tecom to sign Smart City agreement within a month

DUBAI — Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (Tecom) and its subsidiary Dubai Internet City (DIC) will sign the Smart City project agreement in Kochi with the Government of Kerala in four weeks' time, according to a top Tecom official.

By Jamila Qadir

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Published: Wed 3 May 2006, 10:54 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:41 PM

Ahmad bin Byat, Director-General of Tecom, told Khaleej Times that an official delegation from Tecom would leave for Kerala next month to sign the agreement with the South Indian state government.

Commenting on recent media reports about the opposition to the deal from the Kerala Left Democratic Front (LDF), he said: "We have not been informed about any controversy or opposition to the deal and I'm very sure about the agreement. In fact, I will be surprised if we don't sign it."

The Smart City project of DIC in Kochi got a fresh lease of life last month as the Kerala High Court cleared the signing of agreement between Government of Kerala and Tecom.

The project faced a setback earlier this year when India's Chief Election Commissioner blocked the signing of the final agreement on the ground that it was against the code of conduct to be observed for the upcoming general elections in Kerala.

Holding that the model code of conduct would not apply to the Smart City project as the decision to start it was taken in 2004 itself, the Kerala High Court gave the green signal to the state government to go ahead with the signing of the final agreement of the Rs15 billion (Dh1.2 billion) IT infrastructure initiative.

The Election Commission had submitted that executing the final agreement on the eve of the coming Assembly elections would violate the model code of conduct and asked the government to complete the formalities with regard to the project after the elections.

Tecom started showing interest in establishing the Smart City project in Kerala back in 2004.

However, the much-debated project took off the ground only late last year as Kerala government and DIC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up an exclusive zone for software firms in the port city of Cochin (now Kochi).

Under the terms of the MoU, the Kerala government will transfer ownership of the existing Infopark project, an IT business park in Kochi, to DIC. This will be merged into the Smart City project that will be developed adjacently.

The first phase of the Smart City was proposed to be developed in an area of about 350 acres in the heart of Kochi, Kerala's commercial hub. Of this, the Kerala government will provide 100 acres as lease to DIC while 250 acres will be sold at a mutually agreed cost. As many as 33,000 jobs were expected to be created in the first phase within seven years and 75,000 following the development of final phase involving 1,000 acres.

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