Punjab, one of the prominent agricultural states of the country, is now shifting its gears from just being an agricultural state to biotechnology hub of North India. Having already attracted National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) to the state, the government is planning to beef-up its biotechnology sector. Realising the importance of this sector in making the state more developed and technically advanced, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab in 2014 had announced that state government would develop its first ever biotech park on 75 acres in Mohali near Chandigarh within one year.
He informed that the park would be developed by the Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion along with the Science and Technology Department. He urged the Principal Secretary, Science and Technology to visit the leading players of this sector to initiate a dialogue for assistance and investment.
The liberalisation of the country's economy has pitch-forked Punjab into the mainstream of global business. State's inherent strengths and efforts to attract private investment make it a land of opportunities. Its rich agricultural base has the potential to add significant value to the food processing sector. Punjab's strong agricultural base presents an opportunity for leveraging it to develop the biotechnology industry in the state. The Government of Punjab has taken significant initiatives to promote biotechnology related R&D in the state.
Two centres which form the nucleus of the biotech research in the region are the Institute for Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Chandigarh which takes up research in microbial bio-processing and the Central Scientific and Industrial Organisation (CSIO) which has been developing a number of biotech based diagnostic kits.
Apart from these two mega wheels which will be churning the biotech sector of the state, the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), in Punjab, an ambitious project of Department of biotechnology(DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, has already started functioning in Mohali near Chandigarh.
Bio-Processing Unit (BPU) is an autonomous institute under the Department of Biotechnology (Government of India) that has begun to function as a member institute of the Mohali Biotechnology Cluster at Knowledge City, Mohali (Punjab). The institute campus under development is located in the neighbourhood of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Indian Business School (ISB), Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) and Biotechnology Park at Mohali. BPU aims to lead a knowledge-based bio-processing mission through translational testing, optimisation and up-scaling the existing technologies. Concomitantly, it also aims to have in-house innovational and developmental laboratory activities in niche and gap areas in this domain.