Can Yusuf Ali Turn Dumb City Into Smart CityThe smart city project – the would-be IT hub of Kerala and its star employment generator – is once again in the news. The project, a brainchild of the UDF government in 2003 under the chief ministership of Mr A K Antony, has been in the doldrums ever since the much-hyped agreement-signing ceremony held in May 2007. To be located in the outskirts of Kochi in Kakkanadu, this project after completion was supposed to generate 100,000 employment opportunities for job-seekers. From its inception onwards, the project was caught in political controversies, and every political party in Kerala has used this project to score silly points over the other. Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan has caused a lot of embarrassment to the NRI community in the Middle East by issuing avoidable statements that were not very flattering to the Dubai-based promoters of the project, Dubai Internet City. The recent one being his statements on Farid Abdulrahman, the CEO of the project.
Now Kerala government has delegated Mr MA Yusuf Ali to hold talks with the Internet City officials in Dubai. All eyes are set on this Kerala-born business man, who owns a multi-billion business empire in the Middle East, and is very popular with the governments and Sheikhs there. The all important question is: Can Yusuf Ali revive this project thru his mediations with the authorities in Dubai? People have lost faith in politicians. When one goes by the track record of this project so far, this venture should be aptly called Dumb City instead of Smart City. Does Yusuf Ali have enough magic to turn Dumb into Smart?