Majority of packaged drinking water units are unlicensed

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Wednesday informed the Southern Zonal Bench of the National Green Tribunal that majority of packaged drinking water units in the state don't have its permission to operate.
As many as 814 units out of 967 do not have its nod, TNPCB stated in its report submitted following a directive issued by the tribunal in this regard.
The NGT, based on news reports on certain violations of safety norms in packaged drinking water units, had taken up the issue on a suo moto basis.
It had directed the TNPCB authorities to inspect packaged drinking water units functioning having the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) certification and file a comprehensive report.
In the last hearing on August 26, the NGT bench comprising judicial member Justice M Chockalingam and expert member Prof R Nagendran, said a report "as called for" was not filed by the TNPCB.
The bench also cautioned that it might impose penalty ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000 on officials for non-compliance of its order.
When the matter came up for hearing today, the TNPCB's Joint Chief Environmental Engineer S Selvan, in an affidavit, told the tribunal that there were 967 packaged drinking water units in Tamil Nadu.
Out of them, 153 units had obtained consent to operate and the remaining 814 units did not have the nod.
"Applications by all the units seeking consent to operate were submitted before the Board and all of them were returned and they could not consider and pass orders in view of the observations of a Division Bench of Madras High Court order in respect of extraction of ground water and the said order stood in the way of consideration of the applications," the TNPCB told the tribunal.
In his response, PS Raman, senior advocate and counsel for the packaged drinking water units, submitted that the matter could be adjourned for a reasonable time within which the water packaging association would move a petition before the Madras High Court for getting necessary orders.
The matter has been posted to October 6.