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THE CARE KERALAM PROJECT

Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Recently, there were reports that after 10 years of deadlock, the CARe Keralam ayurveda cluster project, at Koratty in Thrissur district, Kerala will become fully operational in August this year. The news will definitely be music to the ears of ayurveda industry as a whole and especially to the hundreds of small and medium ayurvedic drug manufacturers in the state. There are around 650 ayurveda drug manufacturing companies in Kerala, out of which hardly ten companies are big players. The rest are all small and medium companies which needed cluster facilities to survive and thrive. Certainly, this fully operational cluster will prove to be a boon for these small and medium companies as the cluster will have state-of-the-art facilities for raw material testing, clinical trials, post-production surveillance, animal study, testing of contamination of heavy metals and a very big raw material storage yard. All these facilities were set up by spending a large amount of money granted by the Union government. The Rs. 15 crore cluster was set up with a contribution of Rs. 10 crore from the central government, Rs. 3 crore from state government and the rest Rs. 2 crore was contributed by the member companies. The CARe Keralam project, formed to support medicinal plant cultivators and ayurveda drug manufacturers in the state to promote classical ayurveda drugs by conducting scientific validation studies, was a dream project and its revival is crucial for the ayurvedic industry as a whole in the state.

The cluster, which was inaugurated with much fan-fare way back in 2012 with the main objectives of upgrading the process technology of ayurvedic drugs to compete in the international market, develop research and development centre in the field of ayurvedic medicine and to promote exports by removing bottlenecks in the way of export of ayurvedic medicines, had a chequered history. In fact, the project has been struggling for survival ever since it started operations around 10 years ago and due to financial liabilities it was on the verge of closure for the last some years. The project, if it had worked as per the plan, would have provided support for plantation facilities to farmers by supplying free or subsidized seedlings in order to reduce threats for both medicinal plant resources and local community that depended on them. But unfortunately, the cluster has been grasping for breath for the last some years due to financial liabilities, thanks largely to the apathetic attitude of the authorities and the members of the director board of the project. And as the cluster was almost on the verge of closure, Pankaja Kasthuri Herbals India, a popular manufacturer of ayruvedic proprietary drugs based in Kerala, took over the cluster, giving a new lease of life to it. Now this ambitious project will resume operations in full-swing from August. Kudos to the new management, otherwise it would have been a colossal waste of money and a lost opportunity for the ayurveda industry as a whole in the state.

 

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