The six-year-long deadlock between the Kerala government and Smart City Dubai over the proposed Rs1,500 crore Kochi Smart City information technology project finally ended on Wednesday following talks between chief minister V S Achuthanandan and United Arab Emirates (UAE) government representative Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer.
Speaking to reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting in Thiruvanathapuram, Achuthanandan said the project is now through and will go into the implementing phase.
Faced with an ultimatum that the government would be forced to drop the investor, Dubai-based TECOM, the Dubai government rushed its representatives to settle the outstanding dispute over land. In the discussions, mediated by non-resident Indian businessman M A Yusafali, Dubai agreed to the condition that the investor would get freehold on 12 per cent of the total project area, but without the right to sell it.
The foundation stone for the project was laid more than three years back, but it hit a roadblock as TECOM wanted the right to sell its 12 per cent freehold of the project area of 246 acres. There was no dispute over the remaining 88 per cent, which would be given on lease for 99 years.
Achuthanandan said both parties had ironed out the differences to start construction for the project, which promises 100,000 jobs. TECOM will not be charged registration fee and stamp duty for the land deal.
''The lease agreement will be ready in a week for the transfer of the land and the government has decided to exempt the land transfer deal from stamp duty and registration fees. And soon the master plan would be ready and the work also will start,'' said Achuthanandan.