Corporation in discussion with State government

The Chennai Corporation is in discussion with the State government to ban the sale of water sachets in the city.

Mayor M. Subramanian told mediapersons on Tuesday that the matter had been taken up with the Department of Health and that he would soon meet the Health Secretary. This month alone, the civic body had seized and destroyed around 30,000 sachets containing substandard water.

“We have asked our assistant health officers in the zones to look for those who package substandard water and market them as mineral water in bottles. A number of the units that have been filling PET bottles with tap water have also been sealed,” he said.

Officials of the Bureau of Indian Standards, Southern Region, said the BIS had discussions with the civic body on the issue of water sachets sometime ago. The State Government could take action or ban a particular product if it caused environmental pollution or posed health hazard.

BIS certifies the quality of the packaged water.

While it conducts raids on units misusing the ISI mark, the Directorate of Public Health carries out checks on the packaged drinking water products sold without ISI mark under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, an official said.

A.Shakespeare, secretary of Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association, said that nearly 15 lakh litres of water packaged in sachets are sold daily in the city. Nearly 30 units in the city dealing in packaged water are not certified. The profit margin on the sachets is low compared to bottled water. While the production cost of 250-ml sachet is 38 paise, it is sold for 45 paise to dealers. Many sections of the society could not afford bottled water.

A ban on water sachets may see popularisation of the 300-ml bottled water, he added.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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