The much-awaited Smart City project in Kochi has got a shot in its arm with the Central SEZ approval board granting single SEZ status for the project on Friday.
Though the business fraternity in the city lauds the move, they say the speedy implementation of the project is more important. It is expected that the project would be a major boost for the IT, ITeS and infrastructure development of the city.
After the signing of the MoU in September, 2005, the Smart City project came in the limelight again after the government sent a letter to Tecom, the promoters of Smart City, warning them of the delay in commencing the construction work.
After the board meeting of the company held earlier this week, the state government made it clear that the work on the project would begin in six months and the first phase will be commissioned in the next five years. The initial estimate was to generate about one lakh jobs, but it is known that about 30,000 jobs will be created in the initial phase.
On the single SEZ status granted to the Smart City project, K N Marzook, chairman, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that this would change the perception that Kerala is not an investor-friendly state.
“The issues in the Smart City area should be resolved at the earliest. Speedy implementation of the project has to be given priority. Compared to other states the contribution of Kerala to the IT industry in the country is pittance. The project will change the scenario and youngsters from Kerala will get an excellent opportunity,” he said.
S R Nair, president, Kerala Management Association, said that now Tecom has left no choices but to go ahead with the Smart City project.
“Though the state has provided much facilities to the IT industry world leaders like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and HP have not come to the state. When the Smart City becomes a reality these companies will make their way to the state which will boost the economy of the state in general and IT industry in particular.
The authorities have to make sure that Smart city project do not remain only as a real estate project,” he said.
Fazil A S, director, Dream Flower Housing Projects Pvt Ltd, said that the single SEZ status for Smart City will be a positive push for the real estate sector in the city.
“The recent decisions by the ruling UDF Government were in favour of the sector. When Smart City becomes a reality it will be a growth trigger for the reality segment since the primary requirement of the project will be space for accommodation,” he said.