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Future Cities - Kochi

Mega maritime spin-offs puts Kochi on top

By Nirmala Rao

Kochi or erstwhile Cochin has been a major trade destination for years, connecting the world. The all-weather natural port city of Kochi also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea is now taking a dramatic leap into the future, yet again ‘speed’ connecting the world through information technology, being the next sunrise IT hub.

Kochi is the meeting point of the high bandwidth underground IT highway that connects the east- ern hemisphere with the western hemisphere. This is going to be one of the unique selling proposi- tions of Kochi as it places the port city several notches above other IT destinations. Speed is going to be crucial in the days to come and Kochi is ahead on that count. Tata Consultancy Services; Wipro; Cognisant; Ericsson India; Epson; Redintgon; WeP Peripherals; Ze- nith and many more have strong presence in Kochi. Importantly, the ambitious Val- larpadam International Container

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Transshipment Terminal is tak- ing shape and this will put Kochi, by its strategic proximity to the Pacific Rim sea route, again ahead of major port terminals such as Colombo and Hong Kong. Fur- ther, Kochi attains prominence, as the coveted energy supplier for the entire state of Kerala and the western coast, with the completion of the proposed LNG Petronet Terminal.

The major spin-off from increased maritime activity has been on commercial space development, addressing not just maritime needs but also other sectors, predominantly IT. The ambitious 12-storeyed Kerala Trade Centre being set up by the Kerala Cham- bers of Commerce and Industry at an investment of Rs. 100 crore,

expected to be completed this year, on Marine Drive is going to drive further global business, thanks to its proximity to the Val- larpadam terminal. With Kochi enjoying the strategic free trade zone status, the advantage dou- bles. Several companies realising the potential are betting big on Kochi. An estimated investment of Rs. 25,000 crore, both public and pri- vate, is in the pipeline, leapfrog- ging Kochi into another league. The connectivity to international optical fibre networks – SAFE, SEA-ME-WE-3 has catapulted Kochi as a prominent IT hub al- ready. Several IT projects like the Info Park, IT City, Smart City etc are becoming active.

Infrastructural developments like the Metro Rail Project, New Bus Terminal at Vytilla, LNG Terminal, and International Cruise Termi- nal further the commercial and advance growth in the city.

To guide urban development the

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