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Downtown Project hits a ‘wetland’ hurdle.

Date: 26-10-2017
Subject: Downtown Project hits a ‘wetland’ hurdle
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: By the end of 2013, US-based Taurus Investment Holdings won the Swiss Challenge bid to develop Rs 1,500-crore Taurus Downtown Technopark project.
A year later, the state government issued a GO to hand over 19.73 acres to Taurus group on lease for 90 years to develop 50 lakh sq ft of IT SEZ and non-SEZ there. While the state government maintains that the project is on track, land hasn't been handed over to the group yet.

The lease agreement for the project has not been signed. It is learnt that confusion over the status of a parcel of land -part of the 19.73 acres - is delaying the handing over process. Of the 19.73 acres, 19 cents is classified as wetland and there are restrictions on development on this parcel under Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008.

IT secretary M Sivasankar confirmed that a small portion of land was classified as wetland. "A GO will be issued within a month to sort out the issue. It won't affect the project," he said.

It is learnt that the company wants all legal issues to be sorted out before taking over the land for development. Though IT department was of the view that technical issues could be sorted out in due course, the company insisted on settling everything before signing the agreement. "A major announcement on the project will be made in two months," said the IT secretary.
Under the Downtown project Class-A office spaces and supporting facilities like world-class retail space, entertainment areas, F&B outlets, a business hotel and a state-of-the-art plug and play office facility for startups and small businesses will be constructed. The project is estimated to generate 25,000 direct and 75,000 indirect job opportunities.

Recently, Taurus had inked a JV with leading SEZ developer Embassy Group for the development of SEZ component. It has also scaled up the project to a total built-up area of 50 lakh sq ft last year. Taurus's Downtown Technopark was originally proposed during the Emerging Kerala meet held in 2012.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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