Putting an end to the prolonged suspense over the fate of the ailing Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HA), a PSU located in Pimpri, the Union Cabinet Wednesday “stamped its approval” for its revival by approving the sale of part of the surplus and vacant land in possession of the company. The announcement triggered a wave of celebrations among the 1,100 employees of the PSU, who have not received their salaries for months.
Watch What Else is Making News
Maval MP Shrirang Barne, president of the HA Majdoor Sangh which has been spearheading the agitation for the revival of the sick PSU, said the government, in a press release issued after the Union Cabinet meeting, confirmed its intention to revive it.
“Today’s decision makes it clear that the government wants to revive the ailing PSU,” said Barne.
He said the central government has approved the sale of surplus and vacant land of about 87.7 acres, which belongs to HA, to meet the net liabilities of Rs 821.17 crore after waiver and deferment, through an open competitive bid from central and state government departments.
The land is located between Nehrunagar and Masulkar Colony areas in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The government also sanctioned an immediate loan of Rs 100 crore to HA to meet critical and immediate expenses, such as wages, salaries and others expenses. “The loan will be repaid to the government from the sale proceeds of the HA land,” said Barne.
Sunil Pataskar, general secretary of the HA Majdoor Sangh, said, “If after today’s decision to rehabilitate HA, the company does not recover from its bad state, the government has indicated that it will take further decisions in respect of a strategic sale or closure”.
However, Pataskar said all HA employees had been waiting for this day and they would put in their best efforts to ensure the company does better in the future.
“We will try our best to turn around the fortunes of the company. There is a massive demand for HA products in the market,” he said.
Pataskar said the sale of 87 acres of land will help the company raise over Rs 800 crore. “… We will have to repay the Rs 100 crore soft loan to the Centre… the remaining amount will be used to pay off liabilities and as working capital to put the full production in motion,” he said.
Barne said that as per the government press release, after the sanctioned plan is implemented, HA would have no liabilities and will have a clean balance-sheet.
“The sale of HA land at Pimpri will facilitate mitigation of sufferings and critical condition of the employees and if the liabilities are met and the balance sheet is cleaned, the implementation of recommendations of the Ministers’ Committee will be facilitated,” stated the government release.
Hindustan Antibiotics, which finds a mention in school textbooks as the country’s first PSU where penicillin was manufactured, was the dream project of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Meanwhile, Pataskar said the employees will hold a meeting on Thursday to celebrate the government’s decision. “It was a huge relief for the employees…,the celebrations have begun and they will pick up pace tomorrow,” he said.