A delegation led by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met the Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers,Ananth Kumar in New Delhi today. The major issue of discussion was revival of FACT Plant at Kochi. Later briefing the press, Shri Ananth Kumar said that FACT, Kochi is the mother of all industries in the country. He said both the Governments are taking keen interest in revival of FACT. Thanking the Kerala Government for lending its full support, Shri Ananth Kumar said, the proposal of revival package for FACT which is bigger than the one earlier thought of, is under active consideration of his Ministry in consultation with the Union Finance Ministry. He expressed the hope that within 15 days, the revival package for FACT would be cleared. He said the package will not only provide for revival of the Plant, but also its expansion. He said the Plant will add to the fertilizer security of the South India, and will be a big boon to the Kerala farmers.
Issues concerning HOCL and HIL were also discussed. Regarding HOCL, Shri Ananth Kumar said the issue is how to revive it in the wake of international competition. He said various options are being explored, including proposal of bifurcating HOCL. Shri Ananth Kumar said the Government of India is open to any suggestion. Regarding HIL, he said that the Union Health Minister has approved the release of funds for payment of dues and arrears of the employees of HIL. He said that the production of DDT in HIL is decreasing and the Union Health Ministry has been requested to maintain the level of production of DDT.
On the issue of pricing of essential medicines, Shri Ananth Kumar said that the Department of Pharmaceuticals is ready to sign a MoU with the Government of Kerala for opening up of 200 stores in the state under the Jan Aushadhi Scheme. These could be opened in District, Sub-divisional and Corporation Hospitals. He said the Union Government has already included 628 medicines whose prices are fixed under the Drug Price Control Order and this has benefited the consumers by over 1000 crore rupees. Shri Ananth Kumar said the Government further wants to expand the National List of Essential Medicines and has requested the Health Ministry to come out with a new DPCO. In today’s meeting, the Kerala Chief Minister was accompanied by other senior Cabinet Ministers of the State and Shri K. V. Thomas, former Union Minister. The Secretaries of the Department of Chemicals and the Department of Fertilizers and other senior officers of the two Departments and the Kerala Government also took part in the meeting.