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Smart City Dubai is broke: Achuthanandan

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 (18:04:31) Tags: Kerala, V.S. Achuthanandan, Smart City Dubai Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan today said Smart City Dubai, the developer of the proposed Smart City IT Park in Kochi, was "broke". "Since they (Smart City Dubai) don't have money, they are now trying to come up with numerous excuses," the chief minister told reporters here when he was asked about the delay of the project. The government signed an agreement with Smart City Dubai to develop the Rs.1,500-crore project and operate it. Achuthanandan laid the foundation stone Nov 16, 2007, but the company has not started construction as the government is yet to complete the registration of the land allotted for the project and settle a contentious stamp duty issue. Another hurdle in the implementation of the project is the issue of awarding 12 percent free-hold land to the Dubai-based firm. The company wants free-hold rights on 12 percent of land meant for the project, but the government says this demand is not part of the framework agreement signed between the two parties. Smart City Kochi chairman and state Fisheries Minister S. Sarma told reporters earlier this week that talks between the government and the developer "are still going on" and the government "is hopeful of sorting out issues". The last round of bilateral talks between the Dubai team and the government was held in September and it ended without resolving any of the contentious issues. The date for the next round of talks is yet to be announced. (IANS)