Chennai, February 6, 2015: Minister: As SCK01, the first IT tower with a total built-up area of 6.5 lakh sq ft and a floor-plate of more than 1 lakh sq ft targeting Platinum LEED rating, part of the 246-acre SmartCity Kochi (SCK), is to be opened for business by June 2015, the project’s top executives showcased the credentials of the futuristic knowledge hub in a road show held Chennai organized under the auspices of NASSCOM. Coincidently, the road-show held here was also followed by a recent report by NASSCOM itself which rated Kochi as an "Alternative to Tier I City" with a cost differential of about 25% as compared to any Tire I market. Speaking on the occasion, Gigo Joseph, CEO, SCK, said the project will be a game changer for the IT-BPM industries in India as a pioneer of the many smart cities envisaged subsequently, with its sheer size, employment generation potential and world-class, future-proof and integrated facilities for live, work and play.
Jointly promoted by Dubai Holding and Government of Kerala, SCK has set up an IT/ITES Special Economic Zone in the envisaged 13 million sq ft built-up area, housing Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Media, Finance and Research & Innovation clusters. SCK is the third such undertaking by Dubai Holding after the acclaimed SmartCity Dubai and SmartCity Malta.
Slated to be the single largest provider of jobs in the talent-rich state (around 90,000 direct jobs by 2020 and two times indirect jobs), the first phase of SCK will generate 6000 direct IT employments, Mr. Gigo Joseph said.
“The second building will also start its construction in 2015. It will be in 5 acres but will have almost the same BUA of the first building, with higher FAR – 6.3 lakh sq ft. It will be built near the first building and will generate another 6000-7000 jobs. In the meantime, construction of infrastructure facilities like roads, supplies and landscaping are also fast progressing while joint-developments teamed with major players in each sector of various social infrastructure milieus including housing, healthcare, education and recreation are also under various stages of construction. SCK had also received the environmental clearance for the entire project last year,” he added.
With these, Kochi is all set to become a major IT hub in the country as suggested in the NASSCOM report with its striking advantages, Mr. Gigo Joseph said. Kochi is already home to a busy Infopark, which is housing nearly 120 IT majors, employing more than 30,000 professionals. Gigo Joseph explained that a from being a Challenger city six years ago as described by NASSCOM, Kochi’s recent emergence as an 'Alternative to Leader City' is proof that the dynamic port city is as good as Bangalore and other Tier-1 cities for IT.
Mr. Gigo Joseph has also highlighted some other unique advantages of Kochi including the upcoming Metro Transit system and proposed intra-city waterways. “There are 30,000+ apartments already in the vicinity and teh largest mall in India (Lulu: 2 million sq.ft) in addition to the finest healthcare system in the country (15,000+ beds),” he said.
SCK creates dynamic knowledge clusters where companies can succeed. It is a part of globally connected SmartCity communities fueling growth and spurring local economic development. Each SmartCity is committed to long-term sustainability, designed as environmental friendly walk to work township understanding the importance of work-life balance. Thus, in addition to workspace, it features residential, retail, entertainment, schools, training centers, play areas, etc.
Smartnesss will be created from ICT-enabled smart features such as integrated command centre, energy efficient homes, integrated video surveillance, fire fighting integration, parking facilities and electronic billing system, etc and sustainability features such as zero discharge, LEED silver Certification, green building, integrated mobility, etc. “The entire project is envisaged as an integrated Digital Smart City. We have Smart City in Malta and have plans to start more such cities in various geographical locations. So, we could provide an efficient business network of companies,” he said.
For joint developments, Mr. Gigo Joseph said there is a Single Window Clearance facility available for the prospective developers, through which approvals will be given in 45 days. These developers do not need to take separate environmental clearance. Stamp duty is also exempted for them. The companies can also avail many SEZ tax benefits, including 17% reduction in cost of construction. “What SCK aims is an integrated and autonomous township authority constituted by the Government of Kerala,” he said.