The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently approved strategic sale of India's first pharmaceutical company, Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals (BCPL) and another public sector pharma company, Hindustan Antibiotics (HAL).
BCPL makes anti-malaria tablets Chloroquine and Paracetamol among a host of other drugs and industrial chemicals. It was established in 1901 by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray and the government nationalised it in 1980.
According to the government statement, "The option of strategic sale will be explored for HAL and BCPL.
According to the Cabinet decision, the government will sell surplus land of Bengal Chemicals and Hindustan Antibiotics and other two pharma companies Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Limited and Rajasthan Drugs & Pharmaceuticals. This would be done to meet the outstanding liabilities of the four pharma companies.
"In this way, the national assets would be utilized in the best national interest," the government statement said.
The land sale would be through open competitive bidding to government agencies and the outstanding liabilities will be met from the sale proceeds.
After meeting the liabilities, steps will be taken to close Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Limited and Rajasthan Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, the government said.