One state’s gain is another's loss–the adage goes well with states like Punjab and Maharashtra trying to raise a pitch over Centre’s decision to sanction three bulk drug parks, one of these for Himachal Pradesh—the poll-bound northern state, beside Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
On Saturday Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed ‘Yuva Sankalp Rally’ at Mandi via video conference, said the proposed bulk drug park will transform Himachal Pradesh into a world pharma hub, minimising India’s dependence on imports, particularly raw material.
Only last week, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray had accused Maharashtra government for losing a big-ticket project of bulk drug park as the centre had chosen Himachal Pradesh,Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh over Maharashtra’s claim.
Congress leaders in Punjab have also raised similar concerns against the AAP government.
But, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur says the state is home to 600 active pharmaceutical units with annual turnover of Rs 40,000 cr. Of this Rs 10,000 cr come from exports. “The state qualified for the projects under the competitive bidding formula of the Centre to get a prime project,” said Thakur.
He further said the Union cabinet had approved the scheme of bulk Drug Park March 21, 2020 wherein evaluation criteria was prescribed for submitting the proposal. As per the guidelines, 90% of the project cost with the maximum limit of Rs 1,000 crore was to be provided by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Government of India.
The Chief Minister recalls having held high level consultations with top pharma players before submitting the proposal to the Government of India. The proposal was approved by a committee, which he headed, before submitting it to the Government of India, wherein highly competitive utility rates and liberal incentive were offered.
During the Covid period, the state government had started identifying the requisite parcel of land and finally selected a land parcel measuring 1,405 acres at Polian, Tibbin, Malluwal Tehsil Haroli, and Una. There were series of other benefits offered to the investors to make the proposal highly competitive with rest of the states.
Under the scheme, financial assistance will be provided to the three states to set up bulk drug parks with the end goal of bringing down the cost of making bulk drugs by creating “world-class common infrastructure facilities supported by the Centre”.
The bulk drug park, for which the centre will provide Rs 1000 cr, is all set to come-up in Una—a district bordering Punjab and located next to Baddi-Brotiwala-Nalagarh, known as Asia’s biggest pharma hub.
The park will give sustainability to the existing pharmaceutical units having a large dependence on Active Pharma Ingredients (APIs) worth Rs 30,000 to 35,000 cr.
The Industries department ,in a fast forward move, had prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) within 15 days time hinting at a cost of Rs 1,190.25 crore. Of this, Rs 1,000 crore will be grant-in-aid from the Central government while Rs 190.25 crore will be spent by the state government.
The centre had given a time frame of 90 days to three states to prepare DPRs.
The park, as per DPR, would attract net investment worth about Rs 50,000 crore and generate employment for 30,000 people, claims the state government.
As per DPR, informs Additional Director (Industries) Tilak Raj Sharma, “the Common Infrastructure Facilities such as Steam Plant with a capacity of 300 TPH, Power Infrastructure with 120 MW capacity, Water infra along with a water reservoir having capacity of 15 MLD, Solvent Extraction Plant, Common Effluent Plant with Zero Liquid Discharge catering to chemical discharge of 5 MLD will reduce the initial capital cost of manufacturing units in the Park.”
“Keeping in mind the demand of skilled manpower for the Bulk Drug Units in the Park, Centre of Excellence has been provisioned in the Park and a Satellite Centre of NIPER wherein Research and Development activities would be undertaken” says Rakesh Prajapati, Director (Industries)
Big Pharma companies have already evinced interest in setting up units in the Bulk Drug Park and the State Delegation would be meeting entrepreneurs in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Ahmedabad under the planned Investment Outreach Programme very soon.