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Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai February 23 , 2021
The much flaunted ayurvedic cluster project of the Kerala Ayurveda Drug Manufacturers, ‘Care Keralam’ has now become a private property with settlement of its financial liabilities by a private Ayurveda manufacturing company based at the state capital.

The Pankaja Kasthuri Herbals India Private Limited has acquired the company Care Keralam on purchase of all its shares and made it as a subsidiary unit.

The cluster scheme has been struggling ever since it started operation ten years ago and due to financial liabilities it was on the verge of closure for the last two years. Last month, Pankaja Kasthuri Herbals India, the popular manufacturer of ayruvedic proprietary drugs, cleared the financial debts of the Care Keralam and set a controlling interest in it as its subsidiary.

However, according to Dr J Hareendranathan Nair, the chairman and managing director of Care Keralam, it will continue as a shareholder company in the same name, controlled by Pankaja Kasthuri.

The Rs. 15 crore project cluster at Koratty in Thrissur district was set up with a contribution of Rs. 10 crore from the Central government, Rs.3 crore from the state government and the rest Rs. 2 crore were collected from the member shareholders. The scheme was started with the objective to upgrade the formulation development of Ayush medicines to market in international markets, standardization and validation of raw drugs, establish a state-of-the-art R&D unit for Ayurveda and to promote exports of classical and proprietary Ayush products to foreign countries. But the cluster scheme was totally a failure from its very outset and could not achieve a single objective.

Hearing complaints of anomalies and irregularities in the utilization of Central funds and no progress in the operations of the scheme, senior officials from the central Ayush Ministry had visited Care Keralam in last December and sought clarifications from the director board about fund utilization and operations of the industry cluster. The inspection team, who included the joint advisor and the director of the union ministry, had also sought clarifications from the state government about the non-operating condition of the unit. As a result, the director board of the cluster approached Pankaja Kasturi for an investment of Rs. 8 crore to settle the debts incurred by the company.

Talking to Pharmabiz, Dr Hareendranathan Nair said “I have come forward to save the cluster from the present crisis. The project will continue as Care Keralam India Private Ltd, but it will be a subsidiary of Panakaja Kasthuri with full control of it. Now I am the chairman and managing director of the company, who invested Rs. 7 crore to settle the bank loans and another Rs. 1 crore for renovation of the machineries. All the equipment was calibrated and separate AMCs were taken for new machineries, operation was revived and staff were appointed,” said he by adding that now operation of Care Keralam has started in full-swing.

Further, he said several equipment and machineries which were not in good working conditions due to non-function had to be replaced and a lot of amount was spent on maintenance cost. He hopes that when the company prospers, as an individual investor, he will get back his money with due interest. Till then he will hold the ownership right of the cluster.

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