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Master plan approved, SmartCity to get going

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The Hindu                       12.04.2013

Master plan approved, SmartCity to get going

Construction work to begin in full swing before July: MD

A meeting of the Board of Directors of SmartCity Kochi held in Dubai on Thursday approved the master plan for the first phase paving way for the construction work for the project to get off the ground.

Baju George, SmartCity (India) managing director, told The Hindu over phone that the master plan for 50 acres had been approved by the board to avoid further delay in the construction work.

Preparation of the master plan for the rest of the land will be done as the construction work progresses.

Eight buildings spread over 15 lakh sq. ft are proposed to come up on 50 acres, of which 9 lakh sq. ft. will be dedicated to Information Technology (IT) and the rest to non-IT purposes.

Signature building

“The construction of the first building on 4 lakh sq. ft. at an investment of about Rs.200 crore will be launched before July 1 and will be completed within 18 months,” Mr. George said.

Meanwhile, the promoters are planning a signature building on a hilly area in the project site. “It will be an iconic building hosting facilities like the experience pavilion and innovation centre.

The concept design for the proposed building has been drawn up. Since it is a complicated structure, the final design will be readied and construction will be started within another six months,” Mr. George said.

Initially, two buildings with a combined built-up space of 3 lakh sq.ft were proposed in the first phase. The design for the buildings was shortlisted from four participants through a design competition.

The eventual choice was finalised by the executive committee and the director board based on the technical recommendation of the Bangalore-based project consultant.

However, the board felt that a bigger building was needed and hence the concept of two buildings was replaced by one large building.

The board meeting was attended by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Minister for Information Technology P.K. Kunhalikutty, IT Principal Secretary P.H. Kurian, Norka Roots vice-chairman M.A. Yousuf Ali, Dubai Holdings Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Bin Byat, and SmartCity Kochi vice-chairman Abdul Latheef Al Mulla.

Following the board meeting Mr. Chandy met UAE Prime Minister and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Mr. Chandy’s invitation for the inauguration of the first building was accepted by Mr. Al Maktoum.

SmartCity had held a couple of meetings in the city in the last three months in the run up to the launch of construction work by the middle of this year. A one-day workshop attended by all stakeholders including government departments was conducted on January 31 to fine tune the master plan and incorporate the changes before finalising it.

This was followed by a kick-off meeting attended by the project consultant at the project site on March 22.