Kochi, Feb 23 (PTI) The first phase of the Kerala's SmartCity project, which includes a Rs 400-crore 6.5 lakh sq ft information technology tower, was today jointly inaugurated by the state's Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad Al Gergawi.
The project is a joint venture between Dubai Holding and the state government
Union Minister for Skill Development Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister for Industries and IT and Chairman, SmartCity Kochi, P K Kunhalikutty, Gulf-based Kerala businessman M A Yusuf Ali were also present on the occasion.
The launch of the 4.7 million sq ft Phase II was also done simultaneously.
While the first phase of SmartCity will provide 5,500 jobs, the second phase to be completed in 36 months would provide 60,000 jobs, SmartCity Kochi Infrastructure said.
"It is not merely a fulfillment of a project. It is a moment... the door of Kerala has been opened to the world," Chandy said after inaugurating the dream project.
He said so far youngsters had been going all over the world in search of job opportunities and livelihood.
"Now we are going to see the world coming to Kerala," he said.
Al Gergawi said SmarCity would become the hub of global knowledge and share knowledge with the rest of the world.
"Today the first phase of this development has come to a reality. This project will be developed as a hub of excellence and the knowledge-based industry," Al Gergawi said.
In his speech, Rudy emphasized the need to convert India's growing population into a skilled workforce.
Noting that 96 per cent of South Korea's workforce is skilled, China has 46 per cent skilled manpower, US 58 per cent, Germany 74 per cent, 68 per cent in the UK and Japan 80 per cent, he said, "unfortunately, we in India just stand at around 4.5 per cent".
State opposition leader V S Achuthanandan boycotted the function and CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front staged a protest outside the venue, alleging the project was inaugurated before its completion and the function hurriedly organized to reap political benefits for the Congress-led UDF government in the coming assembly polls.