SEZ rules Govt of India is applicable for SmartCity

In this article, I will discuss one of the not-so-discussed hidden points in the new agreement for Kochi SmartCity project.

On 23 Feb 2011, Government of Kerala signed the new agreement with Kochi SmartCity claiming it succeeded in convincing Tecom to agree to most of the demands to protect the interests of the state.

Did we do anything better than the past agreements? Was it worth the the delay? Who will answer the 5 valuable years we lost on these unnecessary disputes?

Take a look at this report by Mathrubhumi News paper dated 03 March 2011. Mathrubhumi reports that the Government agreed to apply the SEZ rules of Government of India instead of the SEZ rules of the state.

SEZ for Kochi SmartCity

Central Government SEZ rules are much more relaxed than State Government rules. In fact, the State Government rules were formed to protect the interests of the state with strict rules. It has been relaxed for SmartCity.

Oommen Chandy accuses hidden deal in SmartCity

I am definitely not against the relaxations for SmartCity. I see nothing wrong in giving this special discounts and relaxed rules for this project. In fact, if that is what needed to make SmartCity a reality, we should have done it long ago. There is no agreement possible without compromising on both the ends and the current agreement is not bad at all. In fact, I believe the new agreement made by V. S. Government is definitely better than the past agreements made by previous Government.

But my point is, was the changes in the new agreement worth the 5 years wait? Why did we delay this project so long with unnecessary disputes? Why are we now claiming that the benefits in the new agreement is a big achievement? When we talk about the few crores of rupees we saved as the land value, why are we forgetting the 1000s of crores we lost as the investments that would have come to the state? Why do we forget 1000s of educated graduates in the state who are losing hope due to unemployment? Do these politicians know several thousand Malayalee professional living abroad (including myself) are hoping on SmartCity to come back?

In my personal opinion, the terms in the new SmartCity lease agreement is much better for the state than the terms in original agreement made by Oommen Chandy Government. However, the huge loss for the state and the people of the state by delaying this project for 5 years is much higher than the benefits earned with this new agreement.

Better late than never! We are all happy that we have a deal, even though it is late. Let us hope SmartCity will become a reality soon.

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