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Dubai officials in India for talks on stalled SmartCity

TECOM team to meet Kerala gov't officials in bid to take $316m project forward.

Dubai officials were due to hold talks in India on Wednesday in a bid to take forward plans for a stalled $316m IT super city in Kerala.

Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan said discussions would take place with TECOM Investments over the proposed Smart City Kochi project, similar to Dubai Internet City, which aims to create up to 90,000 jobs.

"The existing lease agreement with them that was signed long ago has expired and a new agreement will have to be worked out, and for that talks will resume (Wednesday) with them," said Achuthanandan in comments published in the Indian media.

The chief minister had laid the foundation stone of the project on Nov 16, 2007, but there has been no progress since, the Economic Times reported.

The proposed project is to be built on a 246-acre plot with 8.8 million square feet of space, of which 70 percent is earmarked for IT and IT-enabled services.

The government has given a special economic zone status for 136 acres of the project, the report added.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tecom said a company team would arrive at Thiruvanathapuram to hold discussions with the state's chief secretary.

"The meeting will focus on the pending issues causing setbacks to the development of Smart City Kochi," said the statement.

"Once the pending issues are resolved, the planning and operational activities will be intensified. We are fully committed to the project."

The talks come just a day after TECOM Investments pledged its commitment to a $300m project to build SmartCity Malta.

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