Making Vizag the Pharma Hub
Visakhapatnam: The city of Vizag which has traditionally been a strong PSU base has gradually over the past few years garnered attention of becoming a significant pharma hub too.
Albeit still miniscule compared to the pharma industry in Hyderabad the port city is slowly yet steadily inching towards becoming a strong pharma industry in the new state of AP.
Globally the pharma industry is said to be valued at about $1032 billion out of which $450 billion is said to be in the generic space. The rise of the pharma industry in India too has primarily been in the generic space. It is stated that the worldwide growth of the pharma industry has been around 2-3% whereas in India it has been 15-18%.
And making sure that Vizag too gets some of this robust growth in the pharma space is The Jawahar Lal Nehru pharma city situated in Parwada, Visakhapatnam.
Started in 2004 the JNPC developed by Ramky has since given 105 licenses to companies out of which 60 are said to be operational, while 15 are in construction phase and the rest are in design stage.
‘JNPC was the brainchild of our then and now Chief Minister Mr N Chandrababu Naidu’ says Dr. P Lal Krishan, CEO Ramky Pharma city and adds JNPC was an offshoot of Hyderabad to expand the growth of the pharma city in this region.
Awarded on a BOO(Build, own and operate) basis through a global bidding process in2004, JNPC is jointly owned by the Government of AP which holds 11% and the Ramky consortium which holds 89%.
‘JNPC is the only park developed under joint venture with APIIC and government of AP and It is also the only pharma specific industrial park offering integrated environmental management services in India’ says the CEO.
In terms of investment RAMKY claims to have spent Rs. 500 crores on this facility and generated direct employment for about 12000 people.
Citing the attractiveness of JNPC the CEO cites names of leading pharmaceutical companies that have come and set up their units here. ‘An innovator Japanese company called Eisai has its unit here so does one of the world’s leading generic company Hospira’ says Mr Krishna.
The above two units are situated in the Special Economic zone of JNPC along with four other companies that are currently operational. SEZ land is allotted on a 99 year lease and currently 15 companies have been allocated space.
Revenue has seen an uptrend at JNPC wherein turnover for FY 13-14 stood at Rs.8000 crs while for FY 12-13 it was Rs.5000 crs and for FY 11-12 was about Rs.3000 crs.
In order to aggrandize the city as a major pharma hub the CEO suggests a slew of measures that would need a substantial push from the government side. These measures range from having offices like Pharmaexcil to having NIPER (National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research) establish base here.
In addition a strong and persistent demand from the industry has been to have a DG (office of drug controller in the city) in order to give GMPC and other necessary licenses.
Similarly the Removal of MAT has been a long pending request from the industry. Even if not for all units MAT should at least be withdrawn for manufacturing units says Mr Krishna.
Another crucial area that needs attention is Logistics in particular Air Cargo. Today a bulk of the country’s pharma exports happen from Hyderabad as its airport boasts of some of the best equipment and state of the art facilities catering specifically to the needs of the pharma industry. Hence if the city aspires to become a major pharma hub then Air Cargo which includes the infrastructure at the airport would need to get a significant fillip.
Demand of Air Cargo is going to rise substantially says Mr Krishna and estimates the potential to be about 20-30 containers per day by the year 2018.
One of the foremost essentials for an industry to thrive is the need for unflinching political will, lacking which will deter investors from coming here says a solicitous Mr Krishna.