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Gireesh Babu, New Delhi June 07 , 2023
The Union health ministry has issued final notification allowing import of drugs into India through Gangavaram Port at Visakhapatnam, in Andhra Pradesh, an all-weather deep-water port owned by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ).

The Ministry, which issued a draft amendment on March 1, 2023, to the Drugs Rules, 1945, amending the Rule 43A substituting the words “and Krishnapatnam Port,” to “Krishnapatnam and Gangavaram Ports,” released the final notification on June 2, 2023.

The Ministry said that the objections and suggestions received from the public on the said draft rules have been considered by the Central government.

It may be noted that Krishnapatnam port, another private port in Andhra Pradesh, is also owned by Adani Group.

Gangavaram Port is located in the northern part of Andhra Pradesh next to Vizag Port. It is the third largest non-major port in Andhra Pradesh with a 64 MMT capacity established under concession from Government of Andhra Pradesh that extends till 2059. It is an all-weather, deep water, multipurpose port capable of handling fully laden super cape size vessels of up to 200,000 DWT. As of October, 2022, the port operates 9 berths and has freehold land of around 1,800 acres, said the company.

Adani Group was initially a partner in the project and it announced in the second half of 2022 that it has received approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Ahmedabad and NCLT Hyderabad for acquiring the remaining 58.1 per cent stake in Gangavaram Port Limited (GPL) held by DVS Raju and family, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of APSEZ.

Prior to this acquisition, APSEZ had acquired a 31.5 per cent stake in the company from private equity major Warburg Pincus and another 10.4 per cent from the Government of Andhra Pradesh during FY22.

While announcing the NCLT approval for the complete acquisition in October, 2022, Karan Adani, CEO and whole-time director, APSEZ said, “Acquisition of GPL is a key milestone in consolidating our position as India’s largest transport utility and in achieving East Coast & West Coast parity. Gangavaram Port has excellent rail & road network connectivity and is the business gateway to the hinterland spread over eight states. The recent addition of a container handling terminal will enable us to accelerate our growth of cargo volumes.”

With a master plan capacity for 250 MMTPA with 31 berths, GPL has sufficient headroom to support future growth.

The Rule 43A of Drugs Rules, 1945 states that no drug shall be imported into the country except through one of the places listed by the Ministry under the Rule. It lists out the places through which the drugs could be imported from other countries to India through road, rail, air and sea route.

In respect of drugs imported by sea into India, the ports in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kochi, Nava Sheva, Kandla, Inland Container Depots at Tughlakabad and Patparganj in Delhi, Tuticorin and Kamarajar Ports in Tamil Nadu, Marmugao port in Goa, Visakhapatnam and Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh and Haziia port and Inland Container Depot Khohdiyar, Gandhinagar and Mundra Port in Gujarat, and Inland Container Depot at Dhannad and Tihi, Indore, in Madhya Pradesh are listed in the Rules.

In terms of drugs imported by air to India, the airports in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Goa, Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam are listed.

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