Kochi: Seeking to give an impetus to its growth plans, SmartCity Kochi has decided to convert 12 per cent of its allotted 246 acres of land into freehold to promote residential projects, which will compliment the development of the commercial IT buildings and enable people to live in close proximity of their workplace, thereby greatly mitigating the transportation woes.

A board meeting of the company, held earlier last week in Thiruvananthapuram, resolved to approach the Kerala government, seeking change of status of 29.5 acres land from leasehold to freehold, SmartCity Kochi CEO Manoj Nair said today.

“In accordance with the provisions of the framework agreement executed in 2007 followed by the lease agreement signed in 2011 with the Kerala government, we will submit the request to the state administration to facilitate change of status of selected plots in SmartCity Kochi from leasehold to freehold. This will enable SmartCity to undertake developments to promote residential projects and facilitate people to buy residential units, including options for long-term lease,” he added.

“Based on the ongoing development plans in SmartCity Kochi, an additional 55 lakh square feet built up area will be delivered in phases commencing fourth quarter of 2020. This will create an additional 55,000 direct jobs increasing the workforce population to 100,000 in the IT hub at Kakkanad. With the GEMS Modern Academy School, with a capacity of 3,000 students, commencing soon, the timing is appropriate for us to promote residential and retail projects and other related infrastructure that will make up the landscape of this township. We are pinning our hope on the government to complete the process expeditiously,” Nair pointed out.

The eligible conversion to freehold plots as per the framework agreement, as proposed in the SmartCity board’s meeting last week, will require certain processes to be completed by the government. Once converted, the freehold rights will continue to remain with SmartCity Kochi, he clarified.

The board also approved the proposal to allocate 3.33 acres of land in SmartCity Kochi to Kochi Water Metro to set up a terminal and two jetties. The terms and conditions of lease with Kochi Water Metro will be finalised soon. The Kochi Water Metro project, being executed by Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), is part of the integrated transportation solution and will benefit the working population in the IT parks comprising Infopark Phase 1 & 2, SmartCity Kochi and the existing communities around these parks.

The Kerala government holds 16 per cent share in SmartCity Kochi and the remaining 84 per cent ownership is with the UAE-based Dubai Holding, a global investment holding company that plays a prominent role in developing Dubai as a world-class destination for tourism and business through supporting the Emirate’s diversification plan.

By Manoj

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