Uncertainty over drug-maker Divis Laboratories’ proposed facility in Andhra Pradesh is continuing as the locals are unrelenting in their protest demanding relocation of the plant.
Hyderabad-based Divis has commenced the construction of its ₹1,500-crore Unit-III Facility at Kona Forest, Ontimamidi Village, Thondangi Mandal, near Kakinada, East Godavari District, on December 7.
As per the information provided by the drug-maker, operations are likely to commence within 12 to 18 months for 1st phase of the project.
“All the requisite licenses have been granted by the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government for its implementation,’’ the company said.
However, local protests began within days of commencing the construction work which has snowballed into a political issue with few political parties including Jana Sena demanding review of permission given to the company.
According to a senior police official, the recent industrial mishaps in Andhra Pradesh including those at LG Polymers India and Visakha Solvents Ltd had made local people sceptical about their safety.
The State government is in the process of reviewing its permission if one goes by the statement of AP Industries Minister, Gautham Reddy.
In the discussions held with the company management last week, the Minister has apparently told Divis that it would have to convince people and the government about safety measures and absence of any threat. He had also asked the company to ensure 75 per cent of jobs to the locals.
The official response of Divis is still awaited though the government sources say the company has `positively’ responded to the suggestions made by the government.
Industry experts, however, feel the episode can dent the image of Andhra Pradesh which has been ranking the first in the ease of doing business in the country for the last three consecutive years.
“After the bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh has lost a significant presence of the pharma industry to Telangana. Hyderabad has also attracted major pharma investments recently. The State government needs to send positive signals to industry while convincing response to the concerns of the locals” a top executive of a Hyderabad-based listed pharma company said.
In its new industrial policy released in August, the State Government has identified pharma as one of the thrust sectors for rapid industrial development in the State.