Bhubaneswar: Facing an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccine, the Odisha government has asked Bharat Biotech to start Covaxin production by June next year in the state. Bharat Biotech International Ltd (BBIL) had taken 30 acres of land to set up a vaccine unit at Andhrua, on the outskirts of the capital city. However, the project till date remains a non-starter for reasons best known to the authorities.
The foundation stone for the project was laid twice. The stone for the Biotechnology Park was laid October 25, 2009 while the ground-breaking ceremony for setting up of a multiple human vaccine production plant was laid November 16, 2017.
Holding a review meeting virtually, Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra directed Thursday concerned officials to expedite construction of the anchor vaccine production unit and execution of other critical infrastructure. Target to start production of vaccines including Covaxin has been set for June, 2022.
The construction of the vaccine production unit has already started at the proposed project site. The required statutory clearances and permissions have also been granted for setting up the unit.
Mahapatra has directed the Science and Technology department to set up a professional directorate of Bio-Technology for having a focused approach towards incubation and setting up new industries in the sector. Around Rs 15 crore rupees were allocated under the ‘Fund of Funds’ of MSME department for providing equity support to the incubating units.
Science and Technology Secretary Manoj Mishra said the Odisha government have made provisions for extending different incentives to biotech incubation and start-ups in shape of the land allotment, exemption of stamp duty, land conversion, training subsidy, capital investment subsidy, interest subsidy etc. under Odisha Biotechnology Policy of 2018.