Members of the Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association observed a fast at Kalavasal here on Tuesday, protesting the “stringent” norms set by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for getting licences. They closed their units for the day.

A total of 120 manufacturers of ISI-certified packaged drinking water from Madurai, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Theni and Ramanathapuram took part in the fast. Madurai district alone has nearly 45 such drinking water manufacturing units.

“It has been made mandatory by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for all drinking water units to have 2.5 acres around the plant so as to effectively discharge waste water. Our manufacturing process does not involve discharge of effluents or hazardous waste directly to the ground and so we are appealing to the government to revoke this order,” a manufacturer noted.

In a statement released by the association, the members demanded the ISI-certified drinking water manufacturing units to be classified as an essential industry and a green industry stating that “they were providing an essential service by supplying clean drinking water.”

“The certified water manufacturing units are all small-scale industries. Most of them are located in rural areas and have been providing employment for many people and helping the community,” another member of the association said.

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