Hindustan Antibiotics now out of ICU, says Paswan

Express News Service Posted: Jan 18, 2009 at 0157 hrs
Pune BIFR case in 1997; now the target is Rs 160-cr turnover

Union minister for Chemicals, Fertilisers and Steel Ramvilas Paswan on Saturday said Hindustan Antibiotics (HA), Pimpri, referred to BIFR after it reported losses in 1997, is out of the woods. “HA has been brought out of the intensive care unit and placed in the general ward. Day by day, the company is improving and is now well and truly on the path of progress,” he said.

Paswan was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the cephalosporin plant on the HA premises. He said the company recorded a turnover of Rs 54 crore in 2006-07 and Rs 120 crore in 2007-2008. “The company is targeting Rs 160 crore in the current fiscal which speaks volumes about the collective efforts going into making the sick unit a robust one,” he said.

Paswan said the wage arrears as per the recommendations of the Justice Mohan pay commission will be paid in installments to employees. “Why from February? Why can’t we start paying arrears to employees right from today? They deserve it because they put life back into an ailing unit,” the minister said. He said every employee will get a Rs 1000 as an award for the good work which helped revive the company.

He was responding to a request from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who was also present at the function that there should be no discussion about paying wage revision to employees. “There should be no discussion about wage revisions and arrears...The minister should issue directions for immediate implementation of the pay commission recommendations and the arrears thereto,” Pawar said.

Pawar said the employees had been relentless in their efforts in turning the company’s fortunes around. And they have proved what hard work and sacrifices can achieve. He said the previous NDA government had set up a ministry whose only job was to sell off sick units. “But after the Manmohan Singh government took charge, we decided that we will make efforts to revive all sick public sector units. HA was one of them.” HA has lot of significance as it was inaugurated Jawaharlal Nehru and was set up because Mahatma Gandhi had insisted that the poor should get medicines at affordable rates.

Ashok Kumar, secretary, department of pharmaceuticals, said, “Cephalosporin is the latest generation antibiotics. It is the first major revival project. It will also be exported to several countries.”

A shift in strategy
* No penicillin production at HA as China is making it available in the world market at low cost —Managing Director T K Ranganath
* No more sale of HA land; decision on octroi relief for HA rests with PCMC — Sharad Pawar
* New products like Halpen, Haltax, Hexpan introduced in 2008-09; sati-HIV drugs from September this year.