Delhi's got its "Cyber city," the area in nearby Gurgaon where the likes of Yahoo!, Deloitte, and other large multinationals reside. Now Kochi is getting its own version, a "SmartCity" with a focus on IT, and it is slated to become one of the largest IT business parks in India, spread across 246 acres.
"This key step reflects our confidence in the vision for SmartCity Kochi and our commitment to the people of Kerala," said Abdul Latif Al Mulla, Vice Chairman of SmartCity Kochi.
SmartCity is a project of the Dubai-based Tecom Investments, a company that specializes in creating knowledge-based communities around the world.
"The progress that will result from the signing of a fresh lease agreement will give further momentum to our plans of continuing the expansion of the SmartCity global network," said Al Mulla.
SmartCity Kochi is also expected to generate 90,000 jobs over the next 10 years, giving the tourism-dependent city an alternative engine of economic growth, if all goes as planned. But the investment also raises concerns about who will occupy the new space. Will the IT companies be accompanied by a flurry of fast food chains? In which case, the resulting health consequences would create a whole other set of problems. It remains to be seen whether or not Tecom will keep such tenants at bay.
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[Image adapted from Flickr user Peter Fristedt]