The much-delayed Rs.15 billion ($350 million)-Smart City project between the Kerala government and Dubai Internet City (DIC), aiming to put Kerala on the global IT map has been inked finally.

The project was signed nearly three years after it was first mooted. It is different from the one proposed by the previous Oommen Chandy government and comes a few days before Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan completes his first year in office.

The agreement was inked by Ahmad Bi Byat, Executive Chairman of Tecom Investment, and Lizzie Jacob, Chief Secretary of Kerala. Smart City, to be set up in Kochi, is a joint venture company of Tecom Investments and Sama Dubai.

The agreement with DIC does not include transfer of the Infopark campus at Kochi, which had been agreed upon by Chandy. While the former chief minister had agreed to sell 236 acres of land at a cost of Rs.260 million (Rs.26 crores) and given DIC full ownership, Achuthanandan made them agree to 246 acres of land at a cost of Rs.1.06 billion (Rs.106 crores), which would be given on lease for 99 years.

Further, Chandy had agreed to 33,000 new jobs being created by Smart City, but Achuthanandan got them increased to 90,000.

Speaking on the occasion, Ahmad Bi Byat said Smart City would certainly put Kerala on the global IT map providing home to the best companies of India and abroad.

The project would have 8.8 million square feet of building of which 70 percent would be for IT and IT enabled services.

The master plan of the project is expected to be ready in a year and the construction would begin soon after.
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