SHOPIAN: A medical representative from a village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, who was looking for a better job for himself five years ago, has become owner of a successful drug manufacturing company at Industrial Growth Centre, Lassipora and employs more than a hundred educated local youth.
Gowhar Ahmad Wani, son of Mohammad Ismail Wani, a resident of Wasoora village of Pulwama has become a role model for unemployed educated youth after setting up a pharmaceutical company, Vowcare Products, at Lassipora.
However, Gowhar’s success story is not as simple as it may sound. He had to face many odds to achieve his dream.
He recalls that after graduating from a College in Srinagar in 2002, he started assisting his father in family business of drug distribution and marketing. He said that he kept himself busy in marketing and distribution of drugs with his father and simultaneously was aspiring for a better job which he couldn’t get.
“I used to accompany my father to Chandigarh and Haryana where he would get various drugs manufactured through third parties,” Gowhar said, adding that he got an opportunity to visit some of the reputed pharmaceutical companies in these states.
The visits to various pharmaceutical companies inspired him to establish one such unit in his native state.
Back home, he discussed the idea with his family who outrightly rejected the idea citing political uncertainty and harsh climate as reasons.
But, Gowhar was determined to become a successful entrepreneur and to start a standard pharmaceutical manufacturing company in his home district.
He started looking for finances after his family refused to support him.
“I sold my motorbike for rupees 17,000 and invested the amount on my project, ” he said.
“I started with those 17,000 rupees,” he said, adding he applied for land at Industrial Growth Centre, Lassipora in 2013 and took loan from different agencies.
Finally, it was on 10 June in 2017 when Gowhar’s dream came true – his manufacturing unit started production of a range of drugs in capsule, tablet and syrup forms.
“I took the first packet of drugs straight to my home to tell my family that I did it,” he said.
The company proved a boon for many qualified youth who were working outside the state in different multi-national companies.
“We recruited a number of pharma graduates who were working in reputed companies in Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi,” Gowhar said, adding that they were happy to work in their home state.
Vowcare products is a two-storey manufacturing unit spread on 4 kanals (half an acre) of land at Lassipora.
The unit manufactures a range of drugs falling under analgesics, antacids, antidiabetic, neuropsychiatric and antidepressants.
The authorities here claim to manufacture around one lakh each of capsules and tablets besides 3,000 bottles liquid syrup each day and all this quantity is marketed to Delhi, UP, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala besides native state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The company plans to foray into international drug market after getting certified by WHO.
Though, the unit is approved by drug department and it strictly adheres to WHO guidelines, but it needs WHO certification to start international export, the authorities said.
“We will be eligible for WHO certification after completing two years of production,” the authorities said.
But, the challenge before them (the company) is to fight bias in Kashmir against locally-made drugs.
“Our drugs are as good as produced in any part of the world. This has been demonstrated by the fact that many renowned pharmacists and pharma scientists who visited our company were highly satisfied with our ethical and hygienic productions,” they said.