Abdullatif Almulla, CEO of Tecom Investments, has been appointed as Vice-Chairman of SmartCity Kochi, a self-sustained knowledge-based industry township being developed in Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala.
The project, which is jointly promoted by Tecom Investments and the Government of Kerala, was recently inaugurated by Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.
The announcement of Almulla’s appointment came at SmartCity Kochi’s first board meeting, which took place in Kochi and was attended by representatives of the Kerala Government; Minister for Fisheries S Sharma, who is the Chairman of SmartCity Kochi; Fareed Abdulrahman, Executive Director of SmartCity; Deepak S Padmanabhan and Jamal Abdulsalam, Executive Directors of Dubai Internet City.
The pilot meeting focused on the future course of action in the implementation of SmartCity Kochi, the budget and marketing plans for 2008, and the synergy between the Government of Kerala and Tecom in promoting Kerala and SmartCity Kochi as an IT destination. A team to handle initial on ground operations was also approved by the board.
Commenting on the mega project, Almulla (pictured above) said the two sides have agreed on the framework for the project and discussed at length every aspect of the SmartCity.
Talking about its implementation, Almulla said: “The masterplan of the project will be implemented by the third quarter of next year and by the last quarter of 2008, we expect the first businesses to start at this latest facility in India.”
Tecom has also received queries from other states in India about the SmartCity project and the project is likely to be replicated beyond Kochi in Kerala. A similar project is already under way in Malta.
“The success of this project will enhance our commercial relationship with India and together the two countries will work towards leading the industry with commercial viability and technical superiority.”
Talking about the financial feasibility, he said: “India will earn large amounts of foreign direct investment through the project.”
Fareed Abdulrahman, Executive Director, SmartCity, said: “We are happy to convene our first board of directors meeting. The decisions taken by the board have set the path for the project to be rolled out in the required direction. We are fully confident about the success of SmartCity Kochi and delighted to play a part in opening up new avenues of growth in the Indian state, specifically in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors.”
SmartCity Kochi will be one of India’s largest business parks with an employment generation potential of more than 90,000 jobs. Apart from drawing strong foreign direct investment inflows, the project’s multiplier effects are expected to bring several other benefits to the economy. SmartCity Kochi will include a state-of-the-art business-community infrastructure, and a dynamic range of retail, hospitality, residential and recreational facilities that will drive productive business.
The industry sees a wealth of good talent on offer in Kochi at a cost much lower than that in the big metro cities in India, good communication connectivity, a society quite cosmopolitan in attitude, good living conditions and, of course, beautiful surroundings.
Experts believe there are at least a dozen towns in the state ideal for IT companies. The government’s IT policy is aimed at developing all such towns for the industry along with Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi in a hub-and-spoke model, so the trickle down effect of prosperity will be distributed evenly across the state.
“SmartCity is an opportunity for both the countries to show how co-operation rather than competition can improve and enhance commercial relations, and after the success of this project, we are certain that will be repeating this success in other places also,” said Almulla.
Tecom consists of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village. The free zone is a home to hundreds of global companies that serve the technology, media and knowledge industry. The stress-free administrative services and 100 per cent ownership of companies are two of the key benefits of the free zone.
Add a convenient location in Dubai’s new innovative developments and economic growth factor, and you have yourself a winning proposition. A commercial community designed for entrepreneurs, Tecom offers a range of business opportunities for local, regional and international companies.
Tecom is the new hub of innovative business leaders, promoting a fast-paced corporate lifestyle.