Kochi: Preliminary construction work on the Kochi Smart City project in Kerala has begun, nearly a decade after the project was first conceived by the then Oommen Chandy government.
When first proposed in 2004, the project was billed as among the most prestigious the state government had undertaken. Political bickering began soon after the proposal was mooted, causing delay in getting it off the blocks.
Smart City Kochi CEO Gijo Joseph told IANS Monday that through a single-window clearance, the building permit has arrived. The final clearance of the master plan was received at a director board meeting held in Dubai in April this year.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, State Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, State Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph and top IT officials and the entire management team of Smart City Dubai took part in the meeting that cleared the master plan.
An official of the company overlooking construction activities told IANS that test piling had been completed.
"The work for the 6.50 lakh square feet building is expected to begin any time now. We are expecting the building to be fully ready in 18 months," the official said, seeking anonymity.
Chandy, when in Dubai, had extended an invitation to the supreme leader of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, to visit the project site. Mohammed had accepted the invitation, and only a formal communication with firm dates of his arrival are now awaited.
Smart City Kochi, coming up in a 250-acre plot, is part of a special economic zone.
The area also has a lake in it.