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Chandy meets Dubai ruler; discusses investment, trade cooperation

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Chandy meets Dubai ruler; discusses investment, trade cooperation
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Dubai: Dubai, a UAE emirate, and Kerala have held discussions over existing friendship between their counties and ways to boost economic, investment and trade cooperation.

The talks were held between Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, and visiting chief minister Oommen Chandy Thursday.

Both sides also talked about existing cooperation between Dubai and Kerala in all fields, particularly in the areas of ports and information.

Chandy also attended the board meeting of Smart City Kochi which was attended by Industries Minister P.K. Kunjalikutty, Minister of Diaspora K.C. Joseph, top IT officials and the management team of Smart City Dubai, the partner for the project.

The master plan of the prestigious IT project was cleared at the meeting held in Dubai Thursday and the work on it was slated to begin in July.

An official close to Chandy told IANS that the construction work was scheduled to begin July 1.

"The chief minister has extended an invitation to Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum to be present that day," the official said.

"The project will be completed in two phases. The first phase consists of two buildings each having 400,000 square feet area. The completion time is 18 months," said a top official involved in the Smart City Kochi project. He did not wish to be identified.

The Rs.5,000 crore ($1 billion) project will come up under a single special economic zone. The ground-breaking ceremony for it was held in 2011 October.

The project is coming up on 250 acres near a lake.

Smart City Kochi was first conceived when Chandy was the chief minister in 2004, but the project was given clearance by the then chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan at the fag end of his term (2006-11).

The Chandy government began the project last June by inaugurating a state-of-the-art 10,000 sq feet sales pavilion.

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