The Himachal Pradesh Drug Manufacturers’ Association (HDMA) has demanded that the state government lift certain restrictions imposed on the pharmaceutical industry to facilitate smooth functioning of units in the state.
In a letter to chief minister (CM) Jai Ram Thakur, HDMA president Rajesh Gupta said pharma units including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were only functioning at 50% of their capacity as they were having trouble procuring raw material from bulk manufacturers, traders and importers.
Gupta said black marketeering and skyrocketing prices had aggravated the problem. “The coronavirus outbreak, has hit allied industries, especially packaging material manufacturers, which are only running at 15-20% of their capacities,” wrote Gupta.
He demanded that the state government allow trading of raw materials for two to three hours a day and said that the restriction placed on entry of people from outside the state to Baddi area for pharma industry workers be lifted.
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“The state government should waive off fixed and demand charges in electricity bills for the MSME industry as done by Gujarat, Maharashtra and Pujnab,” he said. The association has demanded that inter-city movement be allowed between Baddi, Nalagarh and industrial areas of Punjab.
“The government should allow entry to at minimum five persons from each pharma unit from outside the state. Vehicle passes should be issued to pharma industry staff,” said Gupta. He said that during shift timings the movement of pharma unit workers should be allowed on foot or two-wheelers to avoid transport burden on MSME or Himachal Road Transport Corporation-run bus service be provided on select routes.
Gupta said if the associations’ demands are not met at the earliest, the supply and production of medicines will be affected. “Given the situation, the lockdown may not be relaxed for the next two-three months, thus the government needs to formulate a roadmap till September to facilitate the pharma industry,” he said.