Thursday, October 11, 2001 08:00 IST Pondicherry to have biotechnology corridor
K Santosh Nair, Chennai
The land of sales tax holidays, the Union Territory State of Pondicherry is toying with the idea of having a biotechnology corridor. Already home to many information technology hardware manufacturing companies enjoying total sales tax holiday, the state government is now trying to leverage on the potential of biotechnology to up its financial resources, and attract investments in the process.
Government sources informed that the administration was keen to attract investments from biotechnology companies. " The state is already home to many manufacturing companies. Of late, hardware manufacturers like IBM and HCL have set up shop here and we see Pondicherry a potential destination for biotechnology companies," said the source.
It is learnt that the administration is earmarking a 40 km expanse from Muthialpet as the biotechnology corridor. "We are still to concretise the exact location of the corridor. We have many options and we will choose among them," said the source. However, no official word from the state government has come about the establishment nor the location of the corridor. Still it is learnt that the state administration is keenly watching the progress of the Tamil Nadu government on the biotechnology front and plans to leverage on the same. " Biotechnology companies need not be near the parent company. The tax holiday enjoyed could prompt them to have their wholly owned subsidiary or company in Pondicherry. This is what we are looking at," said the source.
The sources further stated that the state administration thinks that it can rope in a sizeable investment. What is further prompting the state administration to look into the said segment is the presence of a long coastline. Marine biotechnology could be one angle, which the state administration is looking at. Which means, companies, which are looking at conventional biotechnology and marine biotechnology, could have both the worlds at one go.
However, it is not made clear how the state administration would go about setting the corridor nor the fact when the same would be announced. No information was forthcoming on whether the administration would go about framing a biotechnology bill as has been done in the three southern states viz; Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. "We are still debating on how we would go about it," said the source.
If something concrete happens in the next few months, Pondicherry would join the likes of the states mentioned above in leveraging on the potential of biotechnology as investment vehicle. And if does announce a biotechnology policy, it also joins the three states in doing so.
It is reported that some of the pharmaceutical companies in the south as well in the west of the country are looking at Pondicherry as a potential biotechnology centre. Though no company has come forward to announce that it would set up a biotechnology centre in the Union Territory State as the state is yet to announce its plans on this front. But according to unofficial sources, there could be an influx of pharmaceutical companies willing to set up subsidiary or directly set up shop for biotechnology. Two reasons are attributed to the same. One, the sales tax holiday and other sops offered by the state administration, and secondly, the close proximity to Tamil Nadu which has an international airport as well as a port.