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Phase-I Smart City launch next month

Economic Times:  June, 2015

Kochi: The Smart City Kochi (SCK) project is all set for the Phase-I launch next month. The Phase-I roll out will bring into supply a total built-up area of 650,000 sft and a floor space of more than 100,000 sft.

Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy is expected to make the formal announcement on the launch, sources said. The promoters of SCK are finalising the details of Phase-II project, which is likely to be announced during the launch of Phase-I.

Jointly promoted by TECOM Investments, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding and Government of Kerala, SCK has set up an IT/ITeS special economic zone in an envisaged 13 million sft built-up area, which houses the offices of information and communication technology (ICT) sector, media, finance and research and innovation clusters. SCK is the third such undertaking by Dubai Holding after the launch of SmartCity Dubai and SmartCity Malta.

Slated to be the single largest provider of jobs in the state (around 90,000 direct jobs by 2020), Phase-I SCK would generate 6,000 direct jobs in the IT sector.

"Construction works on the second building with a floor space of 630,000 sft would also start this year. It would generate another 6,000-7,000 jobs," sources told Business Standard.

Construction of infrastructure facilities in the SCK project, including roads, landscaping are progressing fast.

SCK last year had received the environmental clearance for the full project. The Union Commerce ministry had granted a single SEZ status for the entire 246 acres of land in December 2011.

With these, Kochi is all set to become a major IT hub in the country, as suggested in a recent Nasscom report. The city is already home to Infopark, which is housing nearly 120 IT majors, employing more than 30,000 professionals.

"The entire project is envisaged as an integrated digital smart city. We have a smart city in Malta and have plans to start more such cities in various geographical locations. So, we could provide an efficient business network of companies," sources said.

A single-window clearance facility is in place for prospective developers, through which approvals would be given in 45 days.

Special measures in place for attracting investment into SCK include developers not required to take seperate environmental clearance, stamp duty exemption. Companies can also avail many SEZ tax benefits, including 17 per cent reduction in the cost of construction.

"What SCK aims is an integrated and autonomous township authority constituted by the Government of Kerala," a source added.