May 25, 2021 1:42:18 pm
Even as the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has agreed to provide financial assistance to Pimpri-headquartered Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd (HAL) to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has taken up the issue with the Centre, which reportedly has conveyed its readiness to accord permission to the sick public sector unit for manufacturing vaccine.
“We had taken up the issue of manufacture of COVID vaccine by HAL with our leader Devendra Fadnavis. He spoke to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan…The former CM has told us that the Ministry was considering the proposal positively and will soon allow HAL to manufacture the vaccine,” BJP Pimpri-Chinchwad president and MLA Mahesh Landge told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
On Monday, PCMC officials and the ruling BJP leaders held deliberations on various issues concerning tackling COVID-19 in the possible third wave as well as manufacturing of COVID vaccine by Hindustan Antibioticis so that residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad could benefit at a time when the industrial city is facing acute shortage of the vaccine.
Landge said HAL has sought Rs 12 crore financial assistance from PCMC.
“However, we have told HA that we will provide the money but it should sign an agreement with PCMC to the effect that vaccine manufactured will be first given to PCMC for its residents. Only after residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad are fully vaccinated can the vaccine be distributed in other cities,” he said.
Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil said the PCMC was ready to help HAL manufacture COVID vaccine.
“We have given a letter to HA promising financial help,” he said. The PCMC chief said HA has sought permission from the Centre for permission to manufacture of COVID vaccine, which everyone is expecting will happen in a few days’ time.
Over a month back, Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd, Pimpri, had sought permission from the Centre to produce COVID-19 vaccine. Shiv Sena MP Shrirang Barne said he had taken up the issue with the concerned Union Ministries and was hopeful of green signal for manufacturing the vaccine and Remdesivir as well by July-August.
Barne said he has given a letter to Union Chemical and Fertiliser Minister D V Sadanand Gowda and Union Health Minister Harsh Vatdhan, urging them to give permission to HAL to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine and Remdesivir injections.
“I have also spoken to Gowda telephonically. He sounded positive and said the government will give permission by July-August,” he said
HAL officials are also hopeful of a green signal for manufacturing, which will lead to a turnaround in the fortunes of the ailing sick unit.
“It is true that we have sought permission from the central government to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine,” a spokesperson said.
The HAL spokesperson said the company currently manufactures dry powder injectables.
“We will have to produce wet power injectables if we are allowed to produce the vaccine. We have made preliminary changes and once the permission is given, we can install the required machinery for the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
The spokesperson said the government will take a decision on which vaccine will be produced at HAL. Currently, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech are manufacturing Covishield and Covaxin, respectively, in India. A third vaccine, Sputnik V of Russia, has also been given the approval in India.
Barne said HAL is the first penicillin factory of the country.
“HAL, which has been declared a sick unit, has been on the revival path. The Centre had sometime back given Rs 400 crore as part of its revival package. During the corona period, HAL has produced PPE kits and sanitisers worth Rs 100 crore,” he said.
Barne said in Pune, both PMC and PCMC are struggling to get adequate stock of vaccine and similar is the fate of the entire district.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.