Chennai (PB): The much-hyped Kerala Ayush Cluster has become operational after a delay of two years and a mega event of inauguration is expected shortly according to the convenience of union health minister Gulam Nabi Azad, said Dr Joy Varghese, executive director of Care Keralam, the Special Purpose Vehicle formed to run the Rs.15 crore cluster project.
According to him the unofficial inauguration of the factory was started in February this year with work of standardizing raw materials and analytical tests in the laboratories for various manufacturing units. For the time being, the operation started with the work of cluster members, but in the long run the unit will be useful for non-members also. The state-of-the-art labs in the unit are helpful for other industries such as allopathic manufacturing, spices production, marine foods, cashew, neutraceuticals etc. The cluster was to have started operation in 2010, but got delayed due to several technical reasons, Dr Joy told Pharmabiz.
“We have started operation and began selling standardized raw materials to the manufacturers. Our laboratories have also set out their work. Facilities are here for all kinds of analytical work, but currently doing only ayurvedic tests. Within two months time, we have sold standardized raw materials for Rs.2 crore,” he said.
According to him, Care Keralam is outsourcing raw materials from Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh. The sourced materials will be standardized and sold to the member units. The SPV has now 110 members as shareholders.
Dr Joy said the department of Ayush has sanctioned Rs.10 crore towards setting up the project and out of which an amount of Rs.9 crore was already released to the SPV. Rs.5 crore was collected from member units as shares and Rs.1 crore availed as loan from bank.
The main objective of the cluster is to upgrade the process technology of ayurvedic drugs with a view to compete in the International market and to develop research & development centre in the field of ayurvedic medicines. The cluster unit housed in 4 acres of land includes five buildings, one go-down, one museum, one analytical laboratory, one process validation lab, one toxicology lab and one common production centre.
Welcoming the initiative by Care Keralam, the secretary of Ayurvedic Medical Association of India, Dr Rejith Anand, said the Ayush Cluster will help promote exports of Kerala’s ayurvedic products and develop a centre for excellence for research in Ayurveda to establish a Kerala-brand of ayurvedic products.