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Smart City Kochi will be ready in three years, says CM Pinarayi Vijayan

In February,2016, the first phase was opened which has an area of 6.5 lakh sq feet and several companies have started operations

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Kochi Smart City project spread across 246 acres, was announced as an IT Special Economic Zone. Image source: The News Minute
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  • The Smart City Kochi project is being jointly developed by Dubai Smart City and the Kerala government
  • The chief minister also said that it will be completed in three years
  • In November 2005, the MoU of this project was inked under the then Chandy government

Kochi, June 23– Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday, said the Kochi Smart City project will be fully ready in three years. Vijayan’s party had boycotted the function when Kochi Smart City’s first phase was inaugurated in February this year, in 2016, after eleven years.

Then leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, who was one of the high profile invitees, did not turn up. The CPI-M organised a protest meet and said that there has been a deviation from the original Kochi Smart City agreement.

Logo of Smart City Kochi. Image source: englishmatrubhumi.com
Logo of Smart City Kochi. Image source: englishmatrubhumi.com

However, on Thursday Vijayan, after meeting top officials of the project, which is being jointly developed by Dubai Smart City and the Kerala government, issued a statement that the project will be going forward as per the agreement.

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The chief minister also said that it will be completed in three years — the agreement that was inked with the previous Chandy government. “When completed, there will be one lakh jobs in the Kochi Smart City and the total area earmarked for IT operations will be 67 lakh sq ft and 21 lakh sq ft for non-IT needs,” said Vijayan.

Representational Image. Smart City Kochi. Image source: www.folomojo.com
Representational Image. Smart City Kochi. Image source: www.folomojo.com

In February,2016, the first phase was opened which has an area of 6.5 lakh sq feet and several companies have started operations. The CPI-M had ridiculed the then Chandy government that there is not a single IT company of repute that has opened.

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In November 2005, the MoU of this project was inked under the then Chandy government. And following the change in government, the framework agreement was signed in 2007 by the Achuthanandan government and it was taken forward again only in 2011 after the Chandy government assumed office. -IANS

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Joint ventures with Dubai are of great advantage. Dubai is a developed and a technological country. It has a lot to give us if we see it in that way.

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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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AAP
Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)