Companies

Dow returns site allotted for R&D facility near Pune

| | Updated on: Jun 01, 2011

Company scouting for alternative site in Aurangabad

Dow Chemicals has returned the site allotted to it for setting up a research facility back to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). A subsidiary of the US-based Dow Chemicals, the company had faced protests from locals over locating its $100- million research site near Chakan in Pune in 2008.

A senior Maharashtra Government official said that it is not the end of the road for the company. The management is still scouting for a new site around Aurangabad. The company is currently managing its research work from rented premises in Pune. The company returned the 100-acre Chakan site three months back.

Payment returned

The company has also withdrawn the case it had filed in the Bombay High Court in this connection. About Rs 50 crore, which was the cost of the land, has been returned to the company by MIDC, the official said.

Today the value of the land has almost doubled and MIDC stands to make a good profit from resale of the site, the official said. Dow was given the option by MIDC of subletting the land to a third party but it did not exercise it.

Aurangabad, where the company is looking for a new site is already home to other pharmaceuticals research labs, including those set up by Wockhardt and Lupin.

A senior industry source said that locating a research facility in a non-metro city such as Aurangabad may not work for the company as such facilities are primarily driven by highly trained technocrats, who prefer educational institutions and recreational activities offered by large cities. “The Chakan site was chosen because it was close to Pune and research institutions like National Chemical Laboratory,” the source said.

Background

In October 2007, Dow entered into a memorandum of understanding with State government for setting up the facility, which was to serve as a global R&D centre with capabilities to conduct research in the areas of identifying new molecules and developing novel applications for existing ones. The centre was planned to be operational by 2008 and by 2010 the head count was to be ramped up to 500 researchers.

But by early February 2008, the project was hit by a series of agitations from environmentalists and villagers from Shinde and Vasuli villages in Chakan. Villagers feared that effluents from the facility would pollute their environment and waterways.

Dow India spokesperson in an email statement said that the company recognises the wealth of talented scientists in the country and is fully committed to establishing a global research and development facility here. The company is currently evaluating site locations and no other decisions have been taken at this time.

Published on June 01, 2011

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