Dubai: Tecom Investments and the government of the Indian state of Kerala have signed a lease for the development of SmartCity Kochi, an IT infrastructure project.
Abdul Latif Al Mulla, Tecom Group CEO who is also Vice-Chairman of SmartCity Kochi, and Suresh Kumar, IT Secretary to the Kerala Government, signed the deal marking the launch of the project.
The lease agreement for 98.4 hectares of land will set the momentum for the development of a self-sustained knowledge-based township in Kochi. It will also bring Tecom Investments a step closer to its international expansion strategy of replicating Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City at locations across the world.
The lease was registered the same day for the clustered tech project, which will take shape with an initial investment of $350 million (Dh1.28 billion) and generate large-scale employment opportunities in the IT and allied sectors.
The signing ceremony was held during the board of directors meeting at Infopark. S. Sharma, Minister of Registration and Fisheries and Chairman of SmartCity Kochi, was present at the occasion.
On behalf of Tecom Investments, M.A. Yousuf Ali, Managing Director of Emke Group, and Anirudha Damkey, Executive Director-Corporate Finance, signed as witnesses, while K. Kurian, Senior Technical Adviser of Infopark, Kochi, and Binu Pazhoor, Chief Executive Officer of Infopark, signed as witnesses on behalf of the Kerala government.
Al Mulla said: "This key step reflects our confidence in the vision for SmartCity Kochi and our commitment to the people of Kerala. We are optimistic about completing this project as planned and fulfilling all the time-bound contractual obligations mentioned in the framework agreement.
"The progress that will result from the signing of a fresh lease agreement will give further momentum to our plans of continuing the expansion of the Smart-City global network. Reflecting the success story of our knowledge clusters, we aim to utilise the SmartCity project to further strengthen the economies of the communities we are located in."
Construction of SmartCity Kochi is expected to begin soon after the Special Economic Zone notification is received for 131 acres, which has already been cleared by the Board of Approval of India's Union Commerce Ministry.
SmartCity Kochi will be one of India's largest business parks and include a state-of-the-art business community infrastructure and a dynamic range of retail, hospitality, residential and recreational facilities to drive productive business as well as a quality lifestyle.
Apart from drawing strong foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, the project's multiplier effects are expected to bring several additional benefits to the economy.
The first European outpost of the global SmartCity network, SmartCity Malta is set to become the leading ICT and media destination in the Mediterranean.
SmartCity Malta received the ‘Best Investment Award in Europe' prize in 2009, recognising the project as the largest foreign direct investment in a European country.
SmartCity's self-sustained townships will seek to harness commerce by providing an environment conducive to business.