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Demand to boost pharma

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 29: Students of various pharmacy institutes across the state have come together to demand the establishment of a pharmaceutical Special Economic Zone in Odisha.

They said this would enable more pharma companies to come to the state, thereby providing employment opportunities for students graduating from these institutes.

There are 30 pharmacy diploma colleges, 16 degree colleges and 15 postgraduate colleges in the state. These apart, three universities — Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan, Utkal University (both in Bhubaneswar) and Berhampur University — also offer courses in pharmacy.

At least 4,000 professionals graduate from these institutions every year and get placed in various companies outside the state.

“Although there is no dearth of jobs for these students, they are forced to move to other states to get jobs. Andhra Pradesh has two pharma parks and most students get absorbed there. Moreover, most of these companies, after getting various benefits from the respective governments, have started reserving jobs for local candidates, thereby restricting job opportunities for candidates from Odisha. This is a matter of concern,” said R.K. Kar, secretary of the Odisha Pharmacy Intellectual Forum.

On Monday, about 500 students under the banner Odisha Pharmacy Intellectual Forum, Odisha Pharmacy College Association, Indian Pharmacy Association, and the Indian Pharmacy Graduate Association took out a rally to create public awareness on pharmacy as a profession.

“Students with BPharm and MPharm degrees get immediately absorbed in various companies. In fact, 30 per cent of technical manpower of the pharma industry in the country is from Odisha and many of them are in top positions. The state should cash in on this situation by pulling in more pharma companies and setting up pharma parks,” said Kar.

Earlier, students had organised a seminar on “Empowerment of Pharmaceutical Sector in Odisha” to mark the 67th National Pharmacy Week.

In a memorandum to governor M.C. Bhandare and chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the students have also demanded the establishment of a National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, formation of a Directorate of Pharmacy and the inclusion of pharmaceutical sciences in Public Health Cadre.

They have also urged the government to fill up vacancies in the drugs controller department and for pharmacist posts in various public health centres and community health sectors of the state government and appointment of pharmacists in all tribal residential schools.