Kerala Cabinet gave clearance, in principle, for the proposal of Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to set up a unit for making packaged drinking water in the State on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after a meeting that the Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure and Development Corporation to set up the unit near Malankara dam in Idukki district. The unit would be able to provide quality drinking water at fair prices.

The Chief Minister said that the unit would be in the public sector. Earlier proposal for private participation was dropped in view of objection by Opposition parties.

He said that Rs. 9.86 crores of Rs.10.25 crore, earmarked in the Budget for the project, would be released for starting work on the unit. The paid up capital of the Corporation, which was Rs. 21.12 lakh now, would be increased to Rs. 10 crore.

He said that the project was mooted to ensure supply of quality packaged drinking water at low cost throughout the State in view of the high prices charged by private suppliers.

Currently, the demand for bottled drinking water was of eight lakh litres a day. The annual turnover the industry was Rs. 60 crore.

The proposed unit would be able to purify and package 9000 litres of drinking water an hour.

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