Maharashtra Deputy CM bats for 50% Covaxin supply to state from Bharat Biotech's Pune facility

Mumbai: Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday asked the officers to initiate talks with Bharat Biotech to get 50% of its total production of Covaxin doses in the Pune plant to be supplied to Maharashtra while the balance will go to the Centre.

Biovet Pvt Ltd, an associate firm of Bharat Biotech, is confident of making a plant at Manjari in Pune "fully functional" for vaccine production by August- end. Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao and district collector Rajesh Deshmukh visited the plant on Wednesday.

The Bombay High Court recently permitted Biovet to take possession of a ready-to-use vaccine manufacturing plant, built on a 12-hectare plot at Manjari in Pune, to produce Covaxin. Pawar said the district administration initiated the process to hand over the land to Bharat Biotech and also in the midst of power supply and related amenities. DCM said the company is expected to start the vaccine production in the next three months.

Pawar, after holding a review of the COVID 19 status in Pune district, said, ‘’It will take around three months for the company to start production of vaccines from this facility. The state government will request Bharat Biotech to give priority to supply 50% vaccine doses to Maharashtra after fulfilling its commitments to the Centre. If the state gets half the vaccine, it will benefit the people here as it will also speed up the vaccination,’’ he added.

Pawar’s announcement came days after Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao and District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh visited the 11-acre plus site in Manjari Khurd where the manufacturing facility will start. According to the district administration, the Biovet Pvt Ltd plant has a ready infrastructure. Everything is in place. At present, the Serum Institute of India has assured to supply 1.50 crore Covishield doses after May 20 while Bharat Biotech has promised to supply 85 lakh doses of Covaxin over six months.

Meanwhile, Pawar said the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Pune has fallen due to the strict lockdown restrictions. He noted that the district administration has geared up to tackle the third corona wave by laying focus on strengthening the health infrastructure, medical facilities and availability of more oxygen, Remdesivir and other medicines.

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