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SmartCity top priority of UDF govt: Chandy

May 22, 2011 19:26 IST

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday said the United Democratic Front government's top priority is implementing the SmartCity IT project in Kochi after sorting out issues in the agreement the previous government had with promoters, Dubai based Tecom "which are against the state's interests."

"There are some issues which are against the interest of the state in the agreement the Left Democratic Front government had with Tecom. The government will take steps to change them but the project will not be delayed. We do not want to delay the project even by a day'," he said.

He was speaking to mediapersons after visiting state minister T M Jacob, who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kochi.

Chandy said a decision would be taken on Monday on who would be the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

The date for convening the assembly will be decided after swearing-in of the newly inducted cabinet ministers on Monday, he said.

The LDF government had on March 21 clinched an agreement with Tecom on setting up the SmartCity IT project. The long-pending dispute between the two sides over the land ownership issues was settled at a discussion between the then Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and Dubai Holding Company chairman and minister Muhammad bin Abdulla al Gargavi.

The SmartCity project was envisaged in 2004 by the then Congress-led UDF ministry as a major joint venture which could generate thousands of direct jobs.

The foundation stone for the project envisaged in 2004 by then congress-led UDF ministry as a major Joint Venture was laid in 2007 by the LDF government.

But its implementation ran into problems over the Dubai-based partner's demand for freehold right over at least 12 per cent of the total 246 acres acquired for the project.

After a phase of hard bargaining over the issue by both sides, the project was saved through mediation by leading NRI entrepreneur M A Yusufali, who brought both sides to the negotiating table.

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