A subsidiary of a Canadian firm at the Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) in Gujarat, used for the supply of raw materials to shoe and hand bag manufacturers in Panipat, is gearing up to make 6 lakh cotton masks a month and help the state government in its fight against the pandemic.
The firm, BVH Manufacturing India Ltd, will join 15-odd pharmaceutical companies in Gujarat, which are currently functioning in SEZs during the lockdown period and making essential drugs including hydroxychloroquine.
“We started our production on Sunday. We will be making three types of masks including the Level 1 masks worn by patients showing symptoms of the virus,” said Steven Bethell, one of the directors of the company that has been operational in Kandla and has been making components for shoes and handbags.
“We are allowing only the units manufacturing essential goods to function in the SEZs. This includes the pharmaceutical units operating with a truncated staff are manufacturing very important drugs used in the fight against COVID-19, including hydroxychloroquine and its API formulations that is hydroxychloroquine sulphate. We are also making metronidazole, azithromycin, erythromycin and paracetamol. The government has banned the exports of all these essential drugs which are used in the combat of COVID-19,” said Amiya Chandra, zonal development commissioner, KASEZ to The Indian Express.
Currently, there are at least two companies — Rusan Pharma Ltd (KASEZ) and Amneal Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd ( Zydus SEZ) — that have a monthly capacity to manufacture 54 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine and 147 kg of API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) formulation hydroxychloroquine sulphate.
There are eight pharmaceutical companies in the SEZs of the state that have monthly manufacturing capacities for 5 million tablets of Azithromycin in doses of 250 milligram and 500 milligrams, 7.7 million tablets of metronidazole and 28.1 million tablets of erythomicin.
Seven firms manufacturing PPEs in Gujarat have capacity to make 11.5 lakh cotton masks and aprons, 12,000 oxygen cylinders, 90,000 surgical gowns, 30,000 coveralls, 30,000 ICU bed sheets and 9,000 elastic bed covers.
There are 125 industrial units that are functioning in 11 of the 18 operational SEZs in Gujarat. Of these, 42 are pharmaceutical firms, while the rest are largely in the IT/ITES space. The other functional units are those manufacturing essential goods like salt.
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