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Thu 17 May 2007 09:51 AM

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Kerala SmartCity given green light

Tecom Investments has finally signed off on its SmartCity project with the Kerala government in India, ending three years of negotiations.

Tecom Investments has finally signed off on its SmartCity project with the Kerala government in India, ending three years of negotiations.

Representatives of SmartCity, a joint venture between Tecom and Sama Dubai, signed the final agreement to establish SmartCity Kochi this week at a ceremony in Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala.

Based on the same model as Dubai Internet City (DIC) and Dubai Media City (DMC), SmartCity Kochi will be one of the largest business parks in India, helping to attract knowledge-industry companies to Kerala.

SmartCity and the Kerala government said they expected SmartCity Kochi to attract US$350million worth of investment, creating 90,000 jobs.

Ahmad Bin Byat, executive chairman of Tecom Investments, described the deal as "a win-win situation" for both parties.

V S Achuthanandan, Chief Minister of Kerala, who attended the signing ceremony, said in a statement: "We look forward to working with SmartCity to develop a project that brings wide-reaching benefits to the economy and the people of Kerala."

Achuthanandan had led opposition to the original deal agreed with Tecom by the previous government, the United Democratic Front (UDF), while it was in power.

Terms of that agreement have been heavily revised; SmartCity is now paying US$24.5million for a 99-year lease on the land, as opposed to the US$6.38million it had reportedly agreed to purchase the land outright.

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