Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 18 (IANS) All hurdles have been cleared for the much-hyped and much-delayed Rs.5,000 crore ($1 billion) Kochi Smart City, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here Friday.
"The last hurdles in the project have been overcome. Our request to make the entire project under a single SEZ (special economic zone) has been approved by the central government. This had caused a delay. Work will soon commence," Chandy said.
The Smart City Kochi is being built by Smart City Dubai. It was inaugurated Oct 2011. Smart City Dubai had been demanding that the entire project should come under a single SEZ.
The project will be come up on 250 acres near a lake.
"The central government has said that a bridge should be built in 18 months to connect land on either side of the water body," said Chandy.
State Information Technology Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty had flown to Dubai last week to participate in a meeting with Smart City Dubai board members where he stressed that it should should speed up the project.
Smart City Kochi was first conceived when Chandy was the chief minister in 2004, but the project was given cleared by the then chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan at the fag end of his term (2006-11). The Chandy government began the project last June by inaugurating a state-of-the-art 10,000 square foot sales pavilion.
"The master plan of the project will be redrawn soon," said Baju George, managing director of Smart City Kochi.
As per the plan, the first phase of the 3.5 million square foot building will be ready in 18 months.