Thiruvananthapuram: In its effort to make Kerala a major IT destination, the state government today signed an agreement with Dubai-based TECOM for setting up Smart City IT park at Kochi.
Marking the culmination of long-drawn negotiations, the pact for the joint venture project was signed by Executive Chairman of Dubail Media and Technology Freezone Authority (TECOM), Ahmed bin Byat and state Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob.
Chief Minister V. S. Achuthandnan, who re-negotiated and salvaged the project from where it was left by the previous UDF ministry, was present when the pact was inked at the state-run Mascot hotel.
The project aims to create a world-class IT and ICT base at a 246-acre area with an estimated initial investment of Rs150 crore to make Kochi a major hub of knowledge industry, generating 90,000 jobs.
The vital clause of the agreement pertained to the 246 acres of prime land leased to the company for 99 years. The state would have an initial stake of 16 per cent in the venture, to be raised to 26% subsequently and its nominee would chair the board.
TECOM, which runs the Dubai Internet City, is expected to lure world IT and ICT majors to the Kochi project.
One of the largest IT parks in the country, Smart City will have a total built-up area of 8.8 million sq ft when completed for housing a wide range of ventures like IT, ICT, media and outsourcing.
Speaking on the occasion, Achuthanandan said signing of the agreement would accelerate the state’s IT development and inflow of investment to Kerala.
The pact also marked ushering in of a new era of economic co-operation between India and the Middle East, he said.
Ahmed bin Byat said he considered it as an important event for Kerala as well as TECOM.
The Smart City would bring benefit not only to entrepreneurs and professionals in IT and ITES sector but also many other economic sectors of the Kerala society, he said.
On their arrival by a chartered flight from Dubai, TECOM team was received by Law Minister M. Vijayakumar, City Mayor C. Jayanbabu and senior officials.