Paswan to save Hindustan Antibiotics assets

Pune, Jan 1 | Updated: Jan 2 2006, 05:51am hrs
Union chemical and fertilizers minister Ramvilas Paswan has promised a special package of Rs 136 crore to bail out Hindustan Antibiotics, the state-owned ailing penicillin maker with nearly Rs 1,500 crore in assets.

Mr Paswan, who was in Pune visited the country's oldest antibiotics factory and said there was no need to sell the company's 250 acre of land to raise funds. He gave an assurance that the Union cabinet would approve of the package within a fortnight.

The company has been facing a major financial crunch for the past decade and was referred to BIFR for winding up operations in 2003. However, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had intervened and promised a rehabilitation proposal for the revival of the company last year. HAL reported a net loss of Rs 10 crore for the fiscal 2003-04.

As per the original proposal, the Centre was to provide Rs 80 crore for resurrection of the company while the remaining amount of Rs 56 crore was to be raised by selling off company's assets.

Mr Paswan said the delay was caused because he did not agree to sell company's assets and insisted on providing the entire amount of Rs 136 crore under a special package. "A new proposal to this effect had to be prepared," he said.

Mr Paswan said failure to resurrect HAL would escalate prices of medicines. He also said the company management should demand all the funds that it requires instead of making repeated demands.