Work on the Bolgatty convention centre, which is being built on a scale to match the best across the world, will begin in the next three months.

The UAE-based tycoon M.A. Ysuffali has said that he would go ahead with the multi-thousand-crore international convention centre and hotel project in Kochi’s Bolgatty Island.

He made the dramatic announcement at the end of a seminar held at the Press Club here, almost as an afterthought.

INTENSE SCRUTINY

The project had recently come under intense media scrutiny after questions were raised about his land deal with Cochin Port Trust.

Political parties in the State had since extended supported to him, Yusuffali said. So he had decided to go ahead with what he described as one of his dream projects.

Yusuffali is managing director of EmKe group and has also promoted LuLu Hypermarkets, which has launched the Rs 1,600-crore LuLu Mall, the country’s largest mall, in Kochi.

Work on the Bolgatty convention centre, which is being built on a scale to match the best across the world, will begin in the next three months.

COMPELING FEATURES

Yusuffali hinted at some compelling features about his dream project. The Bolgatty project will be an international convention centre with a seating capacity of 4,000 to 6,000 people.

The scale and grandeur envisaged are such that the centre would be able to host such prestigious events as SAARC summits, or even Oscar Awards function, he said.

A five-star hotel would come up alongside, with suites befitting those meant for Heads of State.

Yusuffali reiterated that apartments to be constructed as part of the project were meant to be ‘service apartments.’

These would represent ‘essentially an extension of the convention centre and hotel,’ he said seeking to put to rest the controversy that initially made him to back off from the project.

BUILDING CODE

“Some misunderstanding has arisen because the term ‘service apartment’ is not included in the Kerala Building Code,” Yusuffali said.

Yusuffali said that he was essentially a businessman but had no eye on profits from the venture.

Denying any foul play in the land deal, he said that he had all along been a strong votary of the investor-friendly atmosphere in the State Kerala its unofficial business ambassador.

Terms and conditions of the Bolgatty project, for which 28 acres were taken on lease for 30 years through a bidding process, were transparent. It had been cleared by the High Court of Kerala, too.

Everything was done as per the law of the land. Agreement with the Port Trust had been consummated as early as three years ago.

“I have been paying Rs 3 crore as rent to Cochin Port Trust annually for the last three years and I have acted as per the law of the land,” Yusuffali said.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 9, 2013)
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