Smart City can power Chandy's boat
The Kerala HC flashed the green signal to the state Govt for the Kochi Smart City project. Ramesh Babu reports.india Updated: Apr 19, 2006 13:55 IST
The Kerala High Court flashed the green signal to the state government for the Kochi Smart City project on Tuesday.
Quashing an Election Commission directive, Justice Sirijagan allowed the state chief secretary to proceed with inking of the deal between the Dubai Internet City and the state government.
The verdict could not have come at a more opportune moment for the ruling UDF trying to weather a rough poll weather.
With just four more days to go for the three-phase assembly elections in the state, starting April 22, the high court ruling is likely to provide the much-needed wind to the ruling coalition's sails.
Earlier, the EC had barred the state government from signing the contract saying it would violate the model code of conduct.
The HC order came on a PIL filed by a Kochi-based firm pleading that unnecessary delay would scuttle the project intended to generate 33,000 new jobs.
Allowing the government to go ahead with the project, the single bench of the high court observed that the commission's code of conduct would not apply to the project since it was conceptualised almost two years ago.
An MoU for the Rs 15 billion project, to be set up in Kochi, was signed in September last year. The issue had created a furore and, sniffing corruption, the Left had called it a "real estate deal".
Opposition leader VS Achuthandnan had even threatened to put chief minister Oommen Chandy behind bars if the Left returns to power.
Rejoicing at the day's verdict, an beaming Chandy said: "Petty politics should not come in the way of progress. If you smell corruption, how can you carry on development work?"