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UAE-Kerala in Dh1.8bn Sky City plan

By VM Sathish



UAE officials are working with the Government of the Indian state of Kerala to develop a Dh1.8 billion Sky City project at the coastal city of Kochi. The proposal involves building an eight kilometre-long elevated highway above an existing 4.2km bridge that carries traffic over water.


The new road would be lined on both sides with 20,000 square metres of residential and commercial space.


Kochi is a booming commercial city in the southwest of the state flanked by the Arabian Sea on one side and hills on the other.


Sky City has been proposed as a solution to the city’s growing traffic congestion problems, which would not put pressure on the limited land resources in the area.


Three-storey apartments, shopping centres, leisure facilities and other amenities such as pedestrian paths and car parks would be built on the highway platform. There could also be helipads and marine transport.


“The UAE Government is currently studying the Sky City project in Kochi,” said Ashok Lal G, general manager of projects at the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation.


“The project involves the construction of a bridge up to eight kilometres long over an existing bridge and will use the space above it to build shopping complexes, offices and residential buildings.


“There is an acute shortage of land in Kochi to develop new roads and people are reluctant to give up their land for road development.


“Last December, a UAE delegation led by Younis Al Khoori, secretary of the UAE Ministry of Finance and Industry, and other senior government officials visited Kerala to boost UAE investment.


During their visit it was announced a new investment company, a joint venture involving the governments of the seven emirates, would invest in Kerala projects.”


The UAE has experience of reclaiming space for construction through projects, such as Dubai’s Palms and the World and Abu Dhabi’s Breakwater and Al Raha Beach development.


“We are trying to use Dubai’s expertise in growth and infrastructure development. Part of Dubai is reclaimed from the sea and we are confident Dubai companies will be actively involved in the development of the 20m to 30m high bridge above the existing Maradu-Thevara bridge and the development of residential and commercial buildings.”


The official said the Kerala chief minister’s office had approved the Sky City proposal.

Once the feasibility study is completed a memorandum of understanding would be signed by the two governments setting out details of the project’s structure and financing.


“The Government of Kerala will have to grant rights to build over the existing bridge and the Coastal Zone Authority will have to approve the project.”


The proposed development would have supermarkets, community halls, entertainment centres, restaurants, hotels, garment and jewellery shops, car showrooms, offices and business centres.
The plan also involves provisions for amusement centres, healthcare facilities, water sports, an oceanarium and a theme park.


The state government is working with Tecom to develop Kochi SmartCity, an information technology infrastructure project.