Strategic sale of Hindustan Antibiotics, Bengal Chemicals cleared

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 17, 2019 Published on July 17, 2019

The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to close down State-owned Indian Drugs and Pharmaceutical Ltd (IDPL) and its subsidiary Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (RDPL) and put two others — Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd (HAL) and Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BCPL) — on strategic sale.

“While the IDPL and RDPL will be closed and their land will be sold, strategic sale will be carried in HAL and BCPL,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The sale and closure will be as per the revised guidelines of the Department of Public Enterprises and a Committee of Ministers will be constituted to take decisions relating to their closure/ strategic sale, including the sale of assets and clearance of outstanding liabilities.

A sum of ₹330 crore from the funds raised would be spent on paying salary arrears and offering VRS to employees of these companies, he said. According to an official statement, these public sector units have more than 1,000 employees. While the funds required to compensate HAL employees are around ₹280 crore, IDPL and RDPL would need ₹6.5 crore and ₹43.7 crore respectively, the statement said.

The decision assumes significance because the government has been trying to monetise the assets of these sick public sector pharma companies since December 2016, but could not do so. This was because workers in many of these units legally challenged the decision to sale the surplus land belonging to these firms to other government agencies. Even though the government issued tenders more than once, it could not get buyers for the same.

Instead of strengthening these state-owned pharm companies, which have been supplying medicines at cheaper rates to to government hospitals, the government wants to close them down to please private pharma companies, both domestic and foreign, said a trade union leader based in Delhi.

Published on July 17, 2019
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