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‘Smart City Kochi delay due to government ineffectiveness’

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9 (Calcutta Tube) The Congress-led opposition in Kerala Tuesday said the proposed Rs.1,500-crore (Rs.15 billion) Smart City Kochi project has failed to materialise due to the ineffectiveness of the state government.

Responding to queries on Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s statement about the project, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy told reporters: ‘This government is completing four years in office shortly, what were they doing till now.

‘The government lacks the will to do things because of their own contradictions and the easiest thing is to blame all and sundry for one’s own failure and they are doing just that,’ he added.

The chief minister had said in Delhi last week that the mega Information Technology (IT) project was at cross roads because a section of the opposition leaders and their children were playing spoilsport to see that the project does not materialise.

Achuthanandan had laid the foundation stone for the mega IT project at Kochi, to be built by Smart City Dubai, in November 2007. It was to come up in a 246-acre plot and expected to provide 90,000 jobs.

But after the laying of the foundation stone, nothing happened as the issue of granting 12 percent freehold rights to Smart City Dubai cropped up. Despite several rounds of discussion, the issue was not resolved.

‘We have a chief minister here who time and again says that Smart City Dubai is financially broke. Is this the way a chief minister of a state who is looking for investment to happen speaks,’ asked Chandy, who had cleared the proposal when he was the chief minister in 2006.

The last director board meeting of the Smart City Kochi took place in December in Thiruvananthapuram and as always ended without any progress.

‘We asked Achuthanandan several times to come clean on his repeated statements that Smart City Dubai has been demanding things outside of the agreement. But till date we are yet to hear from him on what the demands are,’ added Chandy.

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