Soon after the commencement of the Kochi Metro Rail construction work, there’s cause for Kochiites to rejoice again - the construction of the first phase of yet another dream project, Smart City, is all set to begin in July. The project, originally initiated in 2004, is expected to change the facade of business of not only Kochi but also the entire state. The authorities expect to construct 6.5-lakh sqft space in 18 to 20 months which is likely to generate employment for at least 7,000 people. It has been pointed out that though IT, ITeS sectors would be the direct beneficiaries, almost all the business segments would reap the benefits of the project.
However, the business fraternity in the city said that they want to see the speedy implementation of the project than listen to its announcements.
Smart City Chief Executive Officer Gigo Joseph said that talks are on to bring in global players.
“Our vision for the ‘Smart City’ is that the first company to commence operations should be an iconic brand that will give a boost to the entire project,” he said.
J Paul Raj, secretary, CREDAI Kochi, said any development project would be a shot in the arm of the real estate sector.“The projected employment by Smart City on completion is about one lakh. A large number of global brands are expected to set foot in Kochi on completion of the first phase of the project. Besides providing a major boost to the real estate sector, it will benefit almost all the businesses,” he said.
According to Smart City officials the first phase covering an area of 22 lakh sqft will be commissioned in the next five years. As many as 30,000 jobs will be created in the initial phase.
K N Marzook, chairman, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the commencement of the first phase of Smart City would change the perception that Kerala is not an investor-friendly state.
“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 will be exposed to excellent opportunities,” he said.
S R Nair, president, Kerala Management Association, said that though the state has provided many facilities for the IT industry world leaders like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and HP are yet to come to the state. When the Smart City becomes a reality these companies are likely to flock to the state, he said.