GPMA wants state govt to address shortage of portable water for pharma sector

Suja Nair Shirodkar, MumbaiTuesday, September 25, 2012, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Goa pharma industry has appealed to the state government to take urgent steps to address their long standing demand  by providing them with safe water for manufacturing pharmaceutical products in the state. The decision to take an urgent call on this burning issue, was initiated by Goa Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association (GPMA) in the wake of huge loss that the industry has been incurring over the years, in terms of money and time, due to severe neglect of the government in addressing this matter.

This is not the first time that the association had sent a representation advocating this cause, demanding immediate government intervention by way of potable water supply from the GIDC to all the pharma companies. As of now, the pharma industry in and around the industrial belt of Goa have been going through a rough phase due to severe shortage of usable water for pharma production, forcing them to depend on tanker water to satisfy their huge demand.

According to A K Burman, president, GPMA, this is an additional burden to the companies as the water procured through tankers need to be purified in-house which is both time consuming and expensive. “Apart from the cost involved in procuring tanker water which is costly, we also have to carry out the purification of this water within our facilities as per the standards required. This is to ensure that the water is free of any contamination, in the light of lack of reliability of its source. All this could have been avoided with proper government mechanism since the water that is supplied through them are already purified and made suitable for industrial use,” Burman informed.

Association point out that, all the earlier representations forwarded to the concerned authority have been ignored and fallen on deaf ears with hardly any assurance from the government to improve the present situation. Shockingly, it is understood that companies based in and around phase 4, in Verna does not have water supply at all for any of their pharma manufacturing requirements, wherein all the companies are forced to rely only on tanker water for their production purpose, putting the industry in a tightrope situation to deal with this issue by themselves.

Industry insiders claim that it is not feasible and affordable for them any more ,with increasing costs, to spend extra on facilitating water supply from outside, which is both time consuming as well as a very risky affair. This is a huge issue especially since the regulatory requirements clearly states that the quality of water that are deployed in the pharma manufacturing facility needs to be of highest standard.

Sources point out that the Goan pharma industry have been facing this issue since the last 10 to 15 years, from the time the government has been expanding its industrial area to attract more companies to it. However , growth of the industry in this belt has only aggravated the ongoing problems as lack of infrastructure was not able to meet the high demand that was coming in the state. Industry argues that though it is a good initiative taken by the government to drive the growth of the industry, it lacks the push required as the infrastructural support is not up to the mark.

With a view to ensure that the pharma industry in the state does not suffer further due to the shortage of water supply in the state, GPMA stressed that it is high time for the government to focus on ensuring availability of potable water through GIDC. They asked  that to ensure proper balancing of demand supply chain management and to reduce the high cost of expenditure that pharma companies have to spend now on water supply and purification process, the government should take immediate corrective steps to address this matter.