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The entire land holding of SmartCity is yet to be notified by the centre as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) thereby delaying its marketing campaign (road shows) across India and abroad.

Kochi SmartCity has so far received SEZ status for only 131 acres out of the 246 acres it has and it is still waiting to get the remaining 115 acres notified.

In fact, SmartCity was ready for road shows once its Experience Pavilion was launched early this month but the delay in notification remains a roadblock.

"We have completed the groundwork for the road shows and also identified agencies in major cities with which we can tie up — the only hitch is the delay in the notification," said SmartCity managing director Baju George.

River Kadambrayar flowing through the land and dividing it into two was cited as a reason for the delay in the SEZ notification. Indications are that the centre has to take a policy decision on including water bodies under SEZ.

"The concept plan for the SmartCity needs to be approved by the SEZ development commissioner. The commissioner also has to demarcate the processing and non-processing zones and only then can we begin the marketing campaign," George told Deccan Chronicle over phone from Hyderabad.

IT companies and other export units would function from the processing zone and social infrastructure like hotels, schools and hospitals would come up in the non-processing zone. The plan was to begin the road show from Bengaluru.

The first phase of the Rs 2,000 crore SmartCity project, a joint venture between the state government and Dubai-based Tecom Investments, is expected to be completed in 18 months and the second phase in five-and-a half years, giving employment to one lakh people.