With Big IT Firms Missing, Will Kochi Smart City Project Score?
Kochi Smart City project spread across 246 acres, was announced as an IT Special Economic Zone. (Photo Courtesy: <i>The News Minute</i>)
Kochi Smart City project spread across 246 acres, was announced as an IT Special Economic Zone. (Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)

With Big IT Firms Missing, Will Kochi Smart City Project Score?

The first phase of the Kochi Smart City project was inaugurated on Saturday amid much fanfare, but names of major IT companies that were expected to have been part of the final list are conspicuously missing.

Not only do major Indian IT companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro not find any mention in the list, but even MNCs like Microsoft, Google and Facebook are absent.

Ok, maybe those names are in the ‘high expectation’ category.

The only IT firm of some repute which has made the list of companies that have leased space is Thiruvananthapuram-based IBS Software.

The project spread across 246 acres, was announced as an IT Special Economic Zone (SEZ) intended to attract international IT firms to Kerala and offered 90,000 jobs by its completion in 2020.

Though TECOM, a Dubai holding which has 84 percent shares in Smart City claimed in a press meet held two days before the inauguration that 27 multinational companies would join the project on the very first day, only 22 companies finally turned up.

The list includes mostly non-IT companies like Little Gems Kindergarten School, Subway outlet, SBT bank, which don’t really need an SEZ for functioning.

The Smart City project is now facing the heat from the opposition parties.

Joseph C Mathew, IT Advisor to former chief minister VS Achuthanandan, while speaking to The News Minute said that UDF government along with TECOM has been deceiving the public with fake promises.

It can be understood that all companies will not come and join the venture the very first day. It is a slow process, but why did they lie? They were aware that these are the companies going to join the Smart City and deceived the public.
Joseph C Mathew, IT Advisor to former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan

Mathew had played a key role in framing the Smart City agreement during the LDF government. He alleges that as per the original agreement, only 30 percent of the sector can be used for non-IT purposes, but according to him the government had permitted more space for non-IT purposes.

How many job offers do Subway, Kindergarten etc. give? They offered 90000 jobs that too IT jobs. There was a plan to merge Infopark in Kochi with Smart City. What would have been its condition if it was sold.
Joseph C. Mathew, IT Advisor to former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan

He said that these companies shouldn’t have come inside an IT SEZ and it will not benefit the public.

(The author Haritha John works with The News Minute.)

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