Pune, 26th May 2021: The process of allocating land to Bharat Biotech company at Manjari near Hadapsar has been completed. The company will set up a plant here for the production of Covaxin which is an indigenous vaccine against Coronavirus disease (COVID19). The actual vaccine production will start from this plant by the end of August.
As there is a shortage of vaccines in the country, the government plans to expand vaccine manufacturing plants. Currently, in Pune, the actual work has been started in three phases. This includes various regulatory permits, recruitment of scientists, engineers and other staff as well as inspection of machinery.
The company will enlist the help of retired scientists from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. The Forest Department has 11.58 hectares of land at Manjari and in 1973 it was given to company Intervet India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Merck & Co Ltd, for production of foot and mouth disease vaccine. However, the space was vacant after the company closed.
Intervet is exiting business operations in India and entered into an agreement with Biovet Pvt Ltd, an associate company of Bharat Biotech, to transfer the land and manufacturing unit. Bharat Biotech had submitted a proposal to the state government to start Covaxin production on the site. However, the forest department objected and an appeal was filed in the Bombay High Court.
The court ordered the state government to provide the site to the company as coronavirus vaccines are currently required. The land has been transferred accordingly.
Pune District Collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh said, “The process of transferring land to this company has been completed. Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Labor Department, etc. are in the process of issuing permits and the company plans to start production of the vaccine by the end of August.”
He further informed, “Currently, the recruitment process for scientists and engineers has begun. The help of retired scientists from NIV will be sought. It will take up to 45 days to get various permits. So, work is underway to inspect the machinery brought to the project site.”