Cabinet approves sale of land of India’s first pharma firm
The Dollar Business Bureau
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the sale of surplus land of the country’s first pharma company Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. as well as Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd.
The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved closure of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL) and Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (RDPL).
This is second such strategic sale approved in over 12 years. In September, the Prime Minister-chaired Cabinet had cleared the strategic sale of Bharat Pumps and Compressors Ltd.
In 2003-04, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had approved the first strategic privatisation of Jessop and Co.
Earlier, NITI Aayog had identified BCPL and HAL as the two public sector units for sale of government's majority stake to private companies with an aim to enhance efficiency and professionalism in their functioning.
“The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the sale of surplus land of HAL, IDPL, RDPL and BCPL, as would be required, to meet their outstanding liabilities,” Cabinet said in a statement.
The sale would be conducted through competitive bidding to government agencies, while the liabilities will be covered by the sale proceeds. Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) / Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) would also be put into practice in these Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
The remaining area of the land will be maintained in compliance with the guidelines of the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) and the Department of Investment & Public Assets Management (DIPAM).
After eminent scientist Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray set up the Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Works Ltd. in April 1901, the government took over the management of the company in December 1977 and then later nationalised it in 1981, renaming it Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (BCPL).
BCPL manufactures anti-malaria tablets Chloroquine and Paracetamol, and a wide range other drugs and industrial chemicals from its factory at Panihati in Kolkata.