Having a robust liquor manufacturing industry in the state is turned out to be blessing in disguise in coronavirus times, says Shoma Patnaik
The state’s Iiquor industry manufacturing range of alcoholic beverages is playing a major role in alleviating the shortage of sanitisers during these testing coronavirus times.
Sanitisers are crucial to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease and liquor units who have received the go-ahead are using their presently idling capacities to manufacture sanitisers.
In all six liquor distilleries producing Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and three pharmaceutical companies in the state have been granted special permission to manufacture hand sanitisers by the Directorate of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bambolim. With permissions given to the nine units and two already existing manufacturers, Goa presently has 11 manufacturers of hand sanitisers.
The Ponda plant of Diageo India, United Spirits, was one of the local IMFL distillers to receive approval for manufacturing sanitisers. “It is not easy for a liquor unit to make hand sanitisers as our licenses are for IMFL while sanitisers need FDA licensing. Our company had to take multiple permissions, viz from the FDA, the excise department and the south Goa collector office. We now supply to government departments such as deputy collector’s offices, directorate of transport, Goa Tourism, the Human Resource and Development Corporation, fire stations, primary health centers, among others,” said Huma Ali, unit head, Ponda.
Ali says that, the company supplies the sanitisers free. “Daily we produce 1,000 litres in five litre containers. There is a huge demand for sanitisers currently at the ESI Hospital, the river navigation departments. We plan to keep supplying until needed,” added Ali.
Chief Strategy and Corporate Affairs officer, Abanti Sankaranarayanan, added, “Five days ago we didn’t know anything about producing hand sanitisers. But since March 27 we produced the first batch at our units (including Goa) as part of pledge to produce over three lakh bulk litres of sanitisers for public health care workers at the frontline. We feel privileged to support our country at this hour of crisis.”