Friday, 27 September 2013

SmartCity Kochi revised master plan approved

SmartCity Kochi revised master plan approved

The Board of Directors of SmartCity Kochi granted approval for the revised master plan for the IT project.

In order to complete in time the project, an initiative of the Kerala government and Dubai Holding, the board also granted special powers to the executive members and strengthened the executive team.

The first building is expected to be completed by December 2014. Rs 360 crore has been earmarked for infrastructural development.

A digital master plan which will act as a blueprint of the digital network system coordinating various operations to guarantee state-of-the art automated buildings and IT campus for the project will be prepared by TECOM, the promoters of Smart City.

The director board also empowered the executive committee of Smart City for spending up to Rs. 15 crore.

The land development had been completed and the piling work would begin in a week. On completion, the first phase of the project will offer more than 7,000 direct jobs and 1,400 indirect jobs.

The 246-acre project area at Kakkanad has been divided into three phases and the first IT building will be built in the 40-acre campus, which comes in the first phase.

Out of this, only 10-acre will be exclusively used for construction works. The Platinum Rating LEED Certification building will be completely eco-friendly.

The four-storey 650,000 square feet building is designed by Toronto-based B+H Architects.

Monday, 19 August 2013

HDIL not to sell Kochi SEZ land; to develop IT infrastructure

HDIL not to sell Kochi SEZ land; to develop IT infrastructure

Following relaxation in SEZ norms, debt-laden property developer HDIL has decided to scrap plan to sell the 70-acre land parcel at Kochi Special Economic Zone and is now looking to construct IT infrastructure there.

"We have decided not to sell the Kochi land parcel. We will go ahead with our plans of developing IT and IT-enabled services infrastructure following the recent government decision to amend the SEZ Act, especially in the IT/ITeS sector, as this has given us the confidence to relook at our plans and to develop IT infrastructure," said HDIL Finance Vice President Hari Prakash Pandey.

The company had planned to set up an IT park on the 70-acre land with a planned investment of Rs 2,300 crore. However, in June this year it decided to abandon the project and sell the land to mobilise funds and utilise it for debt repayment as well as for the expansion of the Mumbai metropolitan region.

Pandey said the company will be reworking on the overall master plan in the wake of recent changes in SEZ regulations and taking it forward. "We will develop the project on our own," he added.

Last week the government relaxed SEZ rules concerning minimum land requirement and sale of units to make the scheme more attractive for investors.

The package of reforms includes reducing the minimum land area requirement by half for different categories of SEZs, an exit policy by allowing transfer of ownership of SEZ units including sale and doing away with minimum land requirement criteria for IT/ITES zones. More details here

Monday, 10 June 2013

Lulu Group opens its first and India's largest mall in Kochi

Lulu Group opens its first and India's largest mall in Kochi

UAE based Lulu group opened its first mall in India, constructed at a cost of Rs 1,600 crore, at Edapally junction, Kochi in a 25 lakh square feet complex on March 10, 2013 

It has top international brands of luxury, food courts, coffee shops, 22,000 square feet of entertainment zones, including a 5,000 square feet Ice rink, said to be the first of its kind in South India. 

It has over 360 outlets, including food courts and restaurants and also houses the first McDonalds restaurant in Kerala. 

Built on 17 acres, the mall is spread over three levels. The mall also boasts of prayer halls and baby care centres.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declared the mall open at the function.

The Lulu Group and EMKE Group managing Director M A Yusuf Ali and other guests included Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Opposition leader, V S Achutanandan, Union ministers Vayalar Ravi and K V Thomas, state industries minister P K Kunahlikutty and UAE Deputy minister for Foreign affairs Shaikh Abdulla Al Saleh around the mall after inauguration of the mall on March 10, 2013

The mall is designed by UK based consultants W S Atkins and has parking facility for 3000 cars, the release said. 

The Lulu Group and EMKE Group managing Director M A Yusuf Ali has said there are plans to open more malls. More details here

Friday, 7 June 2013

Work on Rs 5000 crore Kochi Metro rail project commences

Work on Rs 5000 crore Kochi Metro rail project commences

Construction work on the Rs 5000 crore Kochi Metro project began today with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurating the piling work at a funcion.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone for the project on September 13 last year.

Chandy waved a green flag at the function at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium as simultaneously, the piling work commenced at nearby Edapally.

The Chief Minister said this was a "proud moment" for the state which had waited for years for its dream to become a reality.

Urging everyone to pledge support for the project to ensure its completion within the stipulated time frame, Chandy said Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Principal Advisor, E Sreedharan had promised that the project would become a reality in 1095 days. But had also wanted that the metro work should not be affected even a single day.

The 25-km Kochi Metro route, which will have 22 stations from Aluva to Petta, is expected to be completed in about three years time.

The Chief Minister said there have been demands from various quarters for the extension of the metro to the IT hub at Kakkanad, Tripunithura, Nedumbassery airport-Angamally and Mattancherry.

Consultancy agreement with the DMRC would be signed within a week on the Rs 5000 crore Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode Monorail project. By August this year, the Mono rail work will commence, he said.

The metro project received the centre's sanction in July last year and the Union and Kerala government are equity partners in the project, executing agency of which is the DMRC.

The centre's share is Rs 1002.23 crore (about 19.3 per cent of total project cost while the state's share is Rs 2009.56 crore (about Rs 38.7 per cent) while loan from funding agencies is Rs 2170 crore (about 42 per cent).

Urban Development Secretary, Sudheer Krishna, who is also the DMRC and Kochi Metro chairman, said Metro rail and Mono rail are the key drivers of growth and 'pied piper' of development.

Efforts would also be made to integrate the Kochi metro with the city's waterways, he said.

Kochi city could face several inconveniences during the construction work, he said, adding Kochi Metro Rail LTD (KMRL) would take steps to minimise the discomfort.

KMRL Managing Director Elias George presented the project report.

KMRL is also looking at aid from the Japan International Cooperation agency and French financial agency Agence Francaise de Development (AFD).