Smart City, start work or quit: Home Minister

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Kochi: Home Minister Shri Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Monday said the government would look for “other options” if Smart City Dubai, the developer of the proposed Rs.1,500-crore ($300 million) IT project, did not resolve its differences with the state and start construction soon.

“The government is committed to the project and if they (Smart City Dubai) don’t solve the issues then we will look for other options,” Balakrishnan said while speaking at an election campaign near here.

The project, to be jointly launched by the state government and Smart City Dubai, is slated to come up on a 246-acre plot with 8.8 million square feet of built-up space, of which 70 percent is earmarked for IT and IT-enabled services. Chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan had laid the foundation stone of the project Nov 16, 2007, but there has been no progress since then. The project has hit a road block with over the issue of giving 12 percent freehold land to the Dubai firm.

The government has given a SEZ for 136 acres of the project. But it has neither completed the registration of the land nor settled a contentious stamp duty issue. Last month, a two-day meeting between state government officials and a Dubai team failed to break the deadlock.

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