UAE investors in talks to set up Kerala IT zones
Dubai, October 20, 2008
Several leading UAE investors and non-resident Indian groups are in talks with top Kerala government officials to set up technology parks and a IT special economic zone in the South Indian state.
Kerala Government said it will encourage small and medium-sized NRI groups from the Gulf region to set up IT parks in rural and semi-urban centres throughout the state.
"We are currently negotiating with leading business groups from the UAE like SS Lootah and NRI bodies for joint IT projects in the state," Dr Ajay Kumar, secretary, IT, Government of Kerala was quoted as saying in Emirates Business.
"We are offering several key projects with special economic status to UAE investors including a 450-acre technology project in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital," he noted.
Dr Ajay said Emaar MGF, the Indian subsidiary of UAE-based Emaar, was also negotiating for an IT special economic zone in Kerala.
"The UAE-based SS Lootah Group is keen to have a major presence in Kerala's IT sector and we are not feeling depressed about the current slowdown in the US and European markets, the main source of business for IT outsourcing firms," he added.
"The projects include a 25-acre site in Kollam with special economic zone status. Investors would have to use 70 per cent of the area for industrial operations and 30 per cent for commercial developments such as convention centres, recreational facilities and socio-economic infrastructure."
The expected investment for one project is Rs300 crores. In Cherthala, six five-acre units are available and the investment sought is Rs50 crores per project.
In the same city there are plans for a technocity – an integrated IT township – covering 60 acres. An 80-acre technocity project in the same city needs hotels, convention centres and recreational facilities worth Rs800 crores.
SmartCity Kochi, a joint venture between the Government of Kerala and Dubai's Tecom, is a Rs17 billion project to develop 8.8 million sq ft of built-up space.
N Radhakrishnan Nair, CEO of Technopark Thiruvananthapuram, said the centre was undergoing major expansion involving the addition of a further 92-acre section and a 450-acre technocity. He said the Taj Group has commissioned a business class hotel inside the Technopark.