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Kerala govt defers signing smart city project

By Staff
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Kochi, Apr 19 (UNI) The Kerala government today put off the signing of the agreement with the Dubai Internet City for the Rs 1,500 Crore Kochi Smart City project till the end of elections.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here the government decision after the Kerala High Court verdict yesterday to sign the pact ''as soon as possible'' had been reversed in the wake of unexpectedly fierce opposition from the Left Front and the matter would now be taken to the ''people's court''.

The High Court had yesterday set aside an Election Commission directive to the government not to execute the agreement in view of the ongoing Assembly poll process, paving way for signing the deal.

Mr Chandy, who accompanied Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a press conference here, said the government had conveyed its decision to go ahead with the project to the Dubai-based company yesterday and it had consented. But the Left camp's vehement opposition to the move prompted today's reversal, he said.

''We have decided to settle the issue democratically and let people decide. We strongly condemn the CPI(M)'s decision (to oppose signing of the project).'' Mr Chandy said the implementation of the project would have conveyed a message that Kerala had turned into an investment friendly destination.

''We need investment for employment and economic growth and the UDF will realise this project if it comes to power,'' Mr Chandy added.

He said the Dubai Internet City had been told about the new decision and their response was awaited in this regard.

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