Pharma industry has been an anchor industry for Hyderabad for a long time. But post bifurcation, there were murmurs on some industry players wanting to shift base to AP for reasons which were both business-wise and other wise. While these were promptly struck down by Telangana administration as the handiwork of anti-Telangana enthusiasts, some recent developments suggest that the ground level facts are different.

In a related development, The SMS Pharma group – one of the pharma majors in the undivided AP – is shifting its base from Telangana to Andhra Pradesh in the aftermath of bifurcation, according to P. Ramesh Babu, Chairman.

He told reporters in Hyderabad that the SMS group, with a present turnover of Rs. 500 crore, had five units in Telangana in the vicinity of Hyderabad and two in AP – one in Vizianagaram district and the other in Srikakulam district. “The Chief Minister inaugurated our formulations unit – VKT Pharma – at Derasam village in Srikakulam district on Thursday. We invested Rs. 150-200 crore in the first phase and we will invest Rs. 300 crore more in the next two phases,” he said. He said the group had invested Rs. 400 crore on the API unit in Vizianagaram district and the capacity would be expanded at the unit. The company had 100 acres of land in the district. “We have also acquired a 40-acre plot in the Jawahar Pharma city at Parawada in Visakhapatnam district. We will start work on the unit here next year. We will gradually scale down our operations in Telangana and add to our capacities at the units in the three north-coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam,” he explained.

In response to a question as to why the company had taken such a decision after bifurcation, Ramesh Babu said it was not a political decision, but it was based on purely business and administrative grounds. “We have no problems in Telangana. But we want to focus on AP,” he said. He said the SMS group started its operations wayback in 1991 in Hyderabad by acquiring a sick unit forRs. 10 lakh and now “we have touched a turnover of Rs. 500 crore per annum. We want to double and treble it in the next few years. We are very bullish on AP.” He said in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, pharma exports amounted to Rs. 30,000 crore, of which the present AP’s (13 districts) contribution was only Rs. 5,000-6,000 crore. “There is great potential for the development of the sector in AP and the Chief Minister has assured the industry that he will provide all necessary support,” he said.

On the question of pollution, he said the group companies were complying with all the stipulations of the AP Pollution Control Board and there was no compromise on any count.