Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Friday said that the company has suffered a loss of more than Rs 1,000 crores due to the fire which broke out at its Manjari plant in Pune on Thursday afternoon. The fire has impacted the production of BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) and Rota vaccine, Poonawalla added.
“Damage caused by the fire is more than Rs 1000 crore. Although the fire will not affect Covishield supplies, it has damaged the Rotavirus and BCG vaccine manufacturing and storage. It’s a big financial loss for us,” Poonawala said at a press conference.
Poonawala added that the building which caught fire was a new structure, where additional product building capacity was being developed. "It did not have any stock or production. It is a brand new facility. Installation of equipment was underway there, which is what perhaps led to the incident. What we have lost is future production,” Poonawalla added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday visited the SII's premises in Pune's Manjari after five contractual labourers died in a major fire which broke out in the vaccine hub's five-storeyed under-construction building. Uddhav inspected the site that caught fire. He also spoke to Adar Poonawalla and took stock of the situation and extent of the damages caused. "We have ordered a thorough probe... There cannot be any conclusions till the full investigations are complete and the report is available. Then we will know whether it was an accident or sabotage," Uddhav said.
He was accompanied by Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, Legislative Council's Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe, Pune MP Girish Bapat and other top government and police officials.