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The City

Overshadowing the state capital of Thiruvanathapuram, Kochi is Kerala’s business and tourism hub. A pleasant amalgam of the Indian, European, Jewish and Arabian cultures, Kochi’s rapid development over the last couple of years has the charming traditional cottages intermingling with the neo-age towering structures that dot the cityscape today.

Located within Ernakulam district, 220 kms north of Thiruvanathapuram, Kochi is catapulting from years of economic stagnation to a growing IT city. While trade has always been the city’s mainstay, it is the very forceful tourism campaign initiated by the Kerala government that has thrown Kochi into the limelight. Government initiatives apart, the earnest efforts of non-resident Indians to plough back investments in their home state are also beginning to yield results.

The Kochi metropolis covers the mainland of Ernakulam, Edapally, Kalamassery and Kakkanad towards the north-east, Tripunithura in the south east, and a cluster of islands in Vembanad Lake. The islands of Willingdon, Bolgatty and Gundu are integral to the port city, connected by regular ferry services that add to the eclectic flavour. The city’s development is monitored by the Greater Cochin Development Authority.

As a traditional trading town, Kochi handles commodities like pepper, coir, seafood and rubber. However, its induction into the nationwide IT boom started a few years ago with a number of IT parks which led NASSCOM to rate Kochi as the second most attractive city for IT services in India. With the availability of 15 Gbps bandwidth through undersea cables ensuring seamless data flow, and the most literate residents in India, Kochi offers a competitive advantage amongst Indian cities. Kochi is gearing up for a big leap forward with the launch of the Smart City project, expected to absorb at least a lakh of the state’s unemployed youth.

Infrastructure and Facilities
Property prices in Kochi appreciated several fold with the construction of the Goshree bridges, impacting the neighbourhoods of Vypeen, Vallarpadam and Mulavukad Islands Kochi’s Master Plan promises improved infrastructure to relieve traffic congestion on the arterial roads. The Pullepady Overbridge leading to M.G.Road and the development of parallel roads like the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road will help commuting within the city.

Large scale investments to beef up Kochi’s infrastructure are in the making. These include:

A joint venture between the Cochin SEZ, the Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL) and the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) for a Special Economic Zone at Kakkanad

A joint venture between Cochin Port and Dubai Port International to develop the Rs.20 billion International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam; a four-lane highway to the terminal has also been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs;

The 100 acre Infopark located close to the Kochi international seaport, air port and the Cochin (Kochi) Special Economic Zone;

India’s first airport built within the public-private participation model will be expanded at a cost of Rs.35 billion;

Petronet’s LNG terminal due to be commissioned in 2009 and related projects like new hotels, bunkering terminal, single point mooring, and the BSE Center in Cochin; and

Proposal for a Fashion City in Cochin which will include a Garment Technology and Fashion Technology Engineering College.

Triggering the property boom in Kochi, the Smart City project in Kakkanad will be set up by the Dubai Internet City. At a cost of Rs.15 billion, the 1000 acre IT project will ultimately create 5 lakh jobs in companies targeting emerging markets in the Middle East, India, Africa and the CIS. The Smart City will be an extension of the Dubai Internet City and is being promoted by the State Government to encourage private global investors to set up business within a Free Zone environment. Following ‘green practices’, the Smart City will cover 6.1 million sq. ft of built up space

Infrastructural support would also come from inter city rail links through two high speed rail corridors on the Chennai-Ernakulam, Bangalore-Ernakulam routes.


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