Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], May 27 (ANI): Amid the country-wide shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hand over the Integrated Vaccine Complex at Chengalpattu near Chennai owned by HLL Bio-Tech Ltd to the State government for vaccine production with the help of a private partner.
In a letter, Stalin pointed out that the 'modern and high capacity' vaccine manufacturing facility near Chennai had been lying unutilised for months and that the Government of India (GOI) had already invested around Rs 700 crore in it.
"The Government of India has already invested around Rs 700 crores in this manufacturing unit, which is almost complete but has been lying unutilised for want of additional funds," the CM wrote, adding that they had not been able to find bidders when they sought a private partner to run it.
He expressed hope that the move would substantially enhance the country's and state's vaccine requirements.
"I wish to propose that the assets of IVC may be handed over to the State government on lease, without any past liabilities and with full operational freedom," the letter read.
Stain further said that the state government would identify a suitable private partner and would make all efforts to commence vaccine production at the earliest.
The DMK chief promised to work out suitable 'financial arrangement' for the Central government to recover a part of its investment, after the commencement of operations.
Stressing that mass vaccination is the most potent weapon available in this fight against COVID-19, he said: "It is absolutely necessary that we must ramp up the domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, in accordance with the Prime Minister's vision of self-sufficient India."
India has so far administered 20,26,95,874 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, as per the Union Health Ministry informed.
Several Vaccination centres across the countries have been forced to shut down over the last few days due to a country-wide shortage. (ANI)