Though the industries were initially attracted to the hill state due to the special Central package, it is wrong to suggest that the existing units were now planning to close as the special package was drawing to a close on 2010, official sources here said.
Rather the existing pharmaceutical houses were submitting their proposals for expanding their activities and the State-level Single Window Clearance and Monitoring Authority approved the expansion proposal of Rs 57 crore of Servotham Care and of Rs five crore of Micro Labs in its meeting held recently, sources said.
It was true that the industrial development has got a big boost in Himachal Pradesh in the recent past and to keep the momentum, the state government had repeatedly urged the Central Government to provide the refund of excise duty paid by the units on raw material as was done in the Jammu and Kashmir and North eastern States.
However, this was not being agreed to on the plea that Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were being provided the incentive of outright exemption under the Industrial package under which the industrial units enjoy the 100 per cent outright exemption from the payment of excise duty for a period of 10 years, sources added.
The Himachal government was now pursuading the Centre to extend the special package to its original period of ten years as was granted by the NDA government headed by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during the year 2003 and Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was taking special interest in the matter.
Despite the reduction of excise duty from 16 per cent to eight per cent initially and thereafter to four per cent, the interest of entrepreneurs to invest in pharmaceutical units has not decreased as it was not the sole motivational force to set up the units in Himachal Pradesh, they explained.
Other things such as investor-friendly atmosphere increasing infrastructure and other amenities were the reasons attracting the investors to the hill state, they said.
The State cabinet, in its meeting held recently, had approved extension of incentive of concessional rate of CST at the rate of one per cent for all the Industrial Enterprises beyond March 31, 2009 till March 31, 2013 or till the time the CST was phased out by the Central Government, they said.
Besides other industrial units, a large number of pharmaceutical companies/firms chose to set up their units in the State. As many as 152 medium and large scale units have been registered/ approved in the State and 240 small scale units with an estimated investment of over Rs 3000 crore and employment potential to about 25000 persons have been approved in the State so far.
The big names in pharmaceuticals, which set up their units were Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy's Lab, Nicholas Piramal, Dabur, Wallace, Ind-Swift, FDC, Alkem, Hellos, Life Health, Cipla, Servotham Care, Cadila, Unichem, Wockardt, Alembic, AIMIL, Charak, Wings, Panecea, Torque, Torrent, Mayur, Kee Pharma, Emami, Scott Edil, Micro Lab Ayurvet, Macleods, Indoca, Aristo, Kilitch, Vapicare, etc.