The state government of Himachal Pradesh has invited pharma industry stakeholders to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up their bulk drug manufacturing units in the proposed bulk drug park in Una, to give them the first-mover advantage.
The state government has already submitted a proposal to the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers offering 1,400 acres of land in Una for the Bulk Drug Park.
The state governing bodies are optimistic and anticipating that due to surplus and low tariff of power, ample resource of water, industry-friendly policy and ranking of ease of doing business, the state is a strong contender and will certainly get one of the bulk drug parks from the central government announced schemes.
In a webinar on opportunities and way forward for bulk drugs in Himachal Pradesh, held on October 29, the Chief Minister of State, Jai Ram addressed the industry. He seemed to be confident about the state getting the Bulk Drug Parks and also deliberated on the concerns raised by the industry stakeholders. While addressing one of the concerns related to transportation in the state, he assured them about balancing local needs and the industry’s requirements for smooth business activities in the State.
Ram Subhag Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Himachal Pradesh said that presently there are over 750 pharma units in the State, which has about Rs 28 crores worth market size of APIs per annum. Assuring the industry captains about getting more than 200 per cent returns on their investment on the basis of net present value (NPV), he also informed that the state is going to offer the lowest utility cost which will be lesser than even China (which is lowest at present.) He also highlighted that the state has 3500 million units surplus power supply in the state, and offers one of the lowest tariff rates. With financial assistance from the government in setting up the units, it is likely that the state will offer much lower competitive power tariff to the industry.
He mentioned that the land development cost will also be considerably less than in other states and considering the water requirements of the pharma industry, it is also building up water bodies in Una besides existing ample resources of water in the state.
He informed that due to industry-friendly policies, the state has been ranked seventh in ease of doing business from number 16, in the last two years. Besides, the state also has skilled manpower. For more than Rs 50 crore investment in the proposed bulk drug park, the authority will be appointing a dedicated nodal officer to the respective project. The objective is to provide assistance and resolve the issues faced by the investors, without further delay and hindrances. The park will also be GIS-enabled (geographic information system), which will provide online access and information about plot availability to investors.
He mentioned that although the state has transparency and accessibility in the system, it is further studying success stories of single window clearance systems from states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Punjab etc.
Industry stakeholders also shared their suggestions and expectations at the webinar.
Pankaj Patel, Chairman and Managing Director, Zydus Cadila pointed out the issue pertaining to transport restrictions in the state. He suggested the authorities to implement modern technologies which will have a zero liquid discharge facility at the central treatment plant. He also advised having a centralised storage capacity and recovery facility for solvents.
BR Sikri, Vice President, Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association spoke on the challenges faced by the industry and suggested the adoption of the deemed approval concept.
He said, “There are more than 40 departments which regulate our industry which is acting as a bottleneck in the growth. Therefore, the Himachal Pradesh government needs to discuss these issues with the industry and resolve it on a priority.”
Satyanarayan Chava, Chief Executive, Laurus Labs, said that to attract investors, there is a need to identify innovative products which will become cost-effective as well as scale up the economy. Besides, he also stressed on building facilities for attracting the right talent and emphasised that to retain the right talent in the industry, there is a requirement of setting up a good medical facility along with good housing infrastructure to lessen commute time of the workforce.
Jayant Dwivedy, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, USV elaborated that along with setting up logistics, warehousing there is also a need to ensure appropriate safety measures within the proposed bulk drug park. Along with a solvent storage system, a similar facility for Chemicals should also be created.
He further suggested the authority to ensure that there are enough internet bandwidth and connectivity.
Kuber Jagdale, Senior Vice President – Technical Operations and API head, Cipla recommended getting environmental clearance from the respective Ministry, before allotting space to the industry. He also proposed bringing equipment manufacturers to set up their units in the upcoming park to benefit the industry as it will lessen the waiting period for installation of required machines in the new facility.
Anil Kumar Jain, CEO, Sun Pharma commented that the industry needs industry-friendly, eco-system and if it is provided, then Sun Pharma will definitely consider about setting up another unit in the State.
The webinar was also attended by Jagdish Sharma, Principal Secretary to State CM, Hansh Raj Sharma, Commissioner- Industries, Abid Hussain special secretary, Industries and Tilak Raj Sharma, Joint -Director, Industries.