Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Industry and IT Minister and chairman of Kochi SmartCity P.K. Kunhalikutty, Tecom CEO Abdul Latif Al Mulla, Tecom Media Cluster managing director Esmail Al Naqi, Chairman of Emke Group and Kochi SmartCity board member Yousuf Ali M.A. and others during the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday at the Kochi SmartCity site. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Dh1.6 billion SmartCity Kochi, a proposed self-sustained industry township for knowledge-based companies in Kerala, south India, promoted by Dubai Holding member Tecom Investments, has held a ground-breaking ceremony, it was revealed yesterday.

The project is expected to create about 25,000 direct jobs in its first three to four years. In total, SmartCity Kochi is expected to generate about 90,000 jobs, potentially transforming Kerala into an investment destination of choice.

"The physical work on the project started today. The first phase of Smart-City Kochi is going to open within the next year and a half. The entire project is expected to be operational by 2017," V. Nandakumar of Abu Dhabi-based Emke Group, who is familiar with the developments at SmartCity Kochi, told Gulf News.

Government stake

SmartCity Kochi will have a built-up area of 8.8 million square feet with up to 25 buildings. The Kerala Government has a 16 per cent stake in the project. Tecom's Dubai Internet City will focus on marketing while SmartCity will allow multinational and international information technology companies to establish their software development facilities.

SmartCity Kochi project, though it was first envisaged in 2004, got delayed due to various legal and political issues and had to undergo many changes in the framework agreement.

"SmartCity Kochi board members met today to discuss and set the timeline for the development and realisation of the self-sustained industry township for knowledge-based companies," said the statement.