Kochi, Feb 20: The first phase of Kerala's dream SmartCity project, including a Rs 400-crore 6.5 lakh sq ft IT tower overlooking a 300 meter waterfront area, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other dignitaries here today.
The project is a Joint Venture of Dubai Holding and the state government.
Besides Chandy, Union Minister for Skill Development, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister for Industries and IT and Chairman, SmartCity Kochi, P K Kunhalikutty, Gulf-based Kerala business tycoon M A Yusuf Ali and top officials of SmartCity jointly inaugurated the first phase of SmartCity, which will provide 5,500 knowledge-based jobs.
The launch of the 4.7 million sq ft Phase II was also performed simultaneously. It will be completed in 36 months and provide 60,000 jobs.
Proponents of the project, which is inspired by the great knowledge-cluster success stories, claim it brings the expertise of Dubai to develop self-sustained clusters for knowledge based enterprises that aim to serve the Indian subcontinent and beyond.
State opposition leader V S Achuthanandan boycotted the function, alleging that inauguration of the project was done at speed to reap political benefits for the Congress-led UDF government in the coming assembly polls.
As many as 27 IT companies have already been leased out 75 per cent of leasable space in the first IT tower and many of them have already started their 'fit-out jobs. The companies are expected to be fully functional in the next three to four months.
"The delay in Phase 1 was due to the uniqueness of the project and there was no benchmark to carry out the operations," Vice Chairman, SCK, Jaber Bin Hafez said.
The Phase 2 launched today will have seven towers in it, including the tallest IT tower in India in the 1.8 million sq ft project by Sands Infrabuild, the IT division of Lulu Group.
The projects of UAE based Holiday Group, GEMS International School, Bengaluru based Maratt Projects Pvt Ltd; Prestige Group and Kochi based Elton Technologies, apart from SmartCity's own tower are to feature in Phase 2.
The phase II would also feature non-IT buildings.