No, I am not talking about one of those cliche movies where long lost twin brothers (Mr. Bachan has done a few of those) are united after 25 years when they matched up the broken halves of a convenient locket or something. I am referring to the ongoing initiative to set up a programme or agreement to develop a close relationship between Trivandrum and Barcelona, commonly referred to as "twinning".
The Director of International Affiairs of the Barcelona City Council, Mr. Josep Roca and Gerardo Fueyo-Bros, Cultural Councillor, Embassy of Spain in India, visited Trivandrum on September 30 and Oct 1 in an exploratory visit to better understand the context in Trivandrum as well as to identify potential avenues for cooperation.
TDF was actively involved in the two-day programme. We had an exclusive meeting with Mr Roca and Mr Fueyo-Bros where we made a presentation on Trivandrum to help them understand more about the city and its metropolitan area as well as about the City Corporation which would be the nodal agency from our end. I also had the privilege of accompanying them to Kerala's IT hub, Technopark yesterday. Detailed discussions were held with the Mayor of Trivandrum and his team over lunch before we had a dinner meeting hosted by the Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce where a fruitful exchange happened on possible areas of commercial relationships.
The team from Barcelona expressed keen interest in areas like the Knowledge Economy - especially IT/ITES, biotechnology and R&D, Urban Planning, Water Management, Sports Event and Facility Management, Ports & Logistics and Tourism.
Barcelona is a leader in Europe in the knowledge sector hosting major universities, research centers and business parks like 22@Barcelona where they find excellent synergies with projects like Technocity. It is also the biggest port in the Mediterranean region and a leader in the container and cruise segments which is one reason why the team was keenly interested in the Vizhinjam project. Having hosted the 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona has extensive experience in managing major sports events as well as the sports facilities after the Games, which would be a boon to Trivandrum which is working double overtime to get the facilities ready for the 2011 National Games and to evolve a strategy to manage them sustainably after the Games.
Going forward, we will be working with the Corporation and other stakeholders to create a vision document to identify the possible avenues of cooperation between the two cities and the modalities to take the initiative forward in a time-bound manner. I look forward to hearing all your views and suggestions on the same. Thanks in advance, folks!