Microbiological tests conducted on water samples taken during mass raids by the Food Safety Department squads show a high presence of Escherichia Coli or E. Coli bacteria in water distributed in the district.

The department, in an official statement released on Saturday, said it had issued emergency notices to several institutions across the district to stop usage of potable water until purification was done.

Tightening the leash on private tankers which distributed water to offices and homes, the department suspended their licences until they got the necessary certificate from government-recognised laboratories saying the water can be used for drinking purposes.

Hotels, cool drink bars, and shops should only get water from licensed suppliers. The statement further issued a strict warning that any violation of the notice would not only invite a ban on licences but also amount to punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine of Rs.5 lakh. The department said it had sent out special squads to conduct tests and collect samples of water and food from 104 institutions in the district. The squads were able to collect 34 water samples, 22 samples of factory ice, 7 samples of cool drinks, and 9samples of fish for tests.

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