Bottled water plant yet to go full throttle

A file photo of the bottled water plant at Aruvikkara in the capital city.  

More than three months after launching operations, the bottled water plant at Aruvikkara is yet to see production shift gears to full capacity.

Production at the ₹16-crore facility has not moved beyond the 20-litre jars which had hit the market following the inauguration by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in January this year. Of the three production lines, only one is operational.

The Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation (KIIDC), which runs the plant, had announced plans to bring out one and two litres, and 750 ml and 500 ml bottles under the KIIDC’s ‘Hilly Aqua’ brand. The KIIDC has been marketing the 20-litre jars through the Kudumbashree, but the market has been generally sluggish due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the Irrigation Department agency has been supplying it to venues such as the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium where the COVID-19 vaccination camp is in progress.

KIIDC officials attributed the delay in operationalising the remaining two production lines to the absence of appropriate labelling machinery. “We have invited bids, and we hope to start production of the one-litre bottles in another two months,” Thilakan S., chief executive officer, KIIDC, said. The one-litre bottles from the Aruvikkara plant will be priced at ₹13.

The production line that is operational is capable of churning out 2,720 twenty-litre jars per day. The other two lines — for one and two litres, 750 ml and 500 ml bottles — have a capacity of 3,600 litres per hour.

Reverse osmosis unit

Further, KIIDC has plans to install a reverse osmosis unit at the plant. The Kerala Water Authority (KWA), which built the facility, had equipped it with an ultrafiltration (UF) system.

The bottled water facility was conceived and built by the KWA, but it failed to obtain the mandatory clearances from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. Subsequently, the State government had decided to transfer it to KIIDC, ignoring the protests of the KWA employees’ unions.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 5:33:16 PM |

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