By Ashraf Padanna/Thiruvananthapuram
Dubai’s Tecom Investments is planning to launch the first phase of its SmartCity project in Kerala by March, an official said yesterday.
The SmartCity Kochi, Dubai’s second offshore project under this brand after SmartCity Malta, has also received the final clearance from India’s environment ministry for the entire project spread across 246 acres.
“We received the clearance for SCK01, the first building for information technology firms in July last year and later we applied for the rest of the project. We have now received that too,” said Gigo Joseph, its chief executive officer.
India’s National Association of Software and Services (Nasscom) recently signed a deal with SmartCity, which is developing knowledge industry clusters in Malta and the Kerala port city, to promote the industry globally.
The much-delayed project announced almost a decade ago is expected to attract global knowledge industry giants to the state, which now contributes less than 1% of India’s Rs2515bn software exports.
It aims to promote the growth and development of the industry with a special emphasis on software, information technology services, Internet, e-commerce, IT-enabled services, smart services, cloud computing and telecommunications.
“With the decks now cleared for the entire project, we are looking forward to speeding up the construction work. Construction of the SCK01’s seven-story structure is in an advanced stage and as announced in Abu Dhabi recently, the building is expected to open in March,” Joseph said.
The SCK01 will have 650,000 sq ft of built-up space for IT and it will add 8.15mn sq ft more to accommodate other industries in the course of time. A major part of land area will be left for greenery and open spaces.
It aims to attract companies from within India and from abroad in the areas of information and communication technology, media, finance and research and innovation clusters.
Joseph said the SCK01 would be one of the largest green buildings with platinum rating. All the structures coming up there are developed as environment-friendly “in the true sense,” including preservation of endemic local flora and fauna.
“During piling works, an intense replanting drive was also undertaken when trees were replanted elsewhere, highlighting the green credentials of SmartCity,” he said.
It has also entered into agreements for joint developments with prominent IT, hospitality, realty and education firms “to make the hub coming up here an integrated township with facilities to live, work and play.”
“Approvals and designs of such joint developments are at various stages now while a couple of them are already on the verge of starting construction,” added Joseph.
SmartCity plans to develop eight more similar townships in the next 10 years with smart digital infrastructure. Recently, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held talks with SmartCity CEO Abullatif al-Mulla on the possibility of developing a smart city on 1,000 acres between Indore and Bhopal.
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