As 2007 rolled in, we had taken stock of the previous year and predicted a list of what we could look forward to. In an ideal world, that wish list would have come true in its entirety, but in the real world, there are seldom Santas to fill the Christmas sock. So how did we do?
The 2007 list is reproduced below (in italics), with the current status immediately below in blue letters.
.....and what we can Look Forward to in 2007:
- Handover of Technopark Phase III land to real estate majors like Rahejas, L&T etc and IT majors like PCS, IBM, Satyam etc
* The handover is yet to happen, but the land acquisition is finally in progress and should be complete in another month or so. An investor's conference has been called on Jan 24th to discuss the development of Phase III and Phase IV (Technocity) with leading international and national developers.
The Rs 6000 Crore Technocity, Kerala's biggest IT project, is expected to be in development by April 2008.
- Commencement of work on the 1.5 million sft, 12,000 seater Infosys campus.
* Yep, well on its way to completion.
- Commencement of work on the TCS Development Centre
* Not yet. The 1.1 million sq.ft is awaiting EIA approval and is expected to start work in another 2-3 months' time.
- Completion of Leela Infopark and IBS campus
* Yes, Phase I of the IBS Campus was inaugurated in September while structural work on the Leela building is complete and finishing is proceeding briskly. The first Phase of the Tata Elxsi campus has also become operational.
- Start of work on the 4-laning of NH-47, starting with the IT Corridor
* Not yet. The impasse between the State and Centre on allowing BOT projects caused a year's delay. Now that GoK has finally relented to the inevitable, the work is expected to start in late-2008.
- Award of tender for the Vizhinjam Project and start of civil work on the $ 1 billion megaproject
* The big one, and still pending. January 31st is the date now. Fingers crossed!
- Construction of long-distance bus terminal at Eanchakkal and upgradation of the Thampanoor terminal
* Both are pending as the quest continues to identify who takes these projects up. The only consolation is that both have found mention in the JNURM list and so should take off soon.
- Completion of Phase II development of Kochuveli railway terminal and start of work on upgradation of Trivandrum Central to a world-class station
* Both projects are underway, albeit at a slower pace than expected. The main tender for upgradation of Trivandrum Central on a PPP basis is expected to be handed out sometime in the middle of 2008.
- Start of new services by International and Domestic Airlines like Saudi Arabian, Etihad, Spiceject, Kingfisher, Go-Air, Indigo, Air-One etc
* Etihad and Kingfisher are here, along with a couple of other new airlines. The rest are still awaiting DGCA clearance, which is expected as soon as the current upgradations to the existing terminal complex are completed.
Meanwhile, the work on the New International Terminal at the Chackai is well on its way to completion in September 2008. The Second Phase of the Terminal will be completed concurrently, as AAI has tendered it out on a urgent basis due to the exploding passenger traffic.
Tenders have also gone out for the Air India MRO complex which is slated for completion in 10 months.
- Entry of top real estate players like Rahejas, DLF, Unitech, Ascendas, Emaar, Pantaloons and more and retail giants like Shoppers' Stop, Reliance, Westside etc into the Trivandrum market.
* Except for Ascendas, everyone else is in town. Stay tuned for more news of their projects.
- Opening of the five star luxury Taj hotel at Vazhuthacaud
* Not yet, finishing work is nearing completion. Extensive remodelling to meet the requirements of Taj has added nearly 18 months to the completion time of the project. The five-star luxury hotel is now expected to open in April 2008.
- High Court Bench in Trivandrum.
* With stout resistance from the entrenched lawyers and Judges of the Court, who show no sign of acceding to logic and agreeing to a Bench in Trivandrum, where the High Court really belongs, the issue is deadlocked. The Government has shown a rare sign of resoluteness by declining to sanction additional Judges until there is agreement to set up a Bench in Trivandrum. Despite the inescapable fact that most of the cases coming before the High Court being those related to the State Govt., the ridiculous state of affairs when the Court is located 200 Km from the State Capital continues.
So, 2007 was a mixed bag for Trivandrum and its citizenery, and for Kerala as a whole. While there was some progress in terms of developments in the IT sector and the Airport, most of the other initiatives still await salvation.
However, the end of the year and the beginning of 2008 have been brighter. As the Technocity and Technopark Phase III projects finally get into implementation mode, the tender date of Vizhinjam approaches and the agreement for the City Roads Project is renewed, things are looking up for all of us. Fingers and toes crossed of course!