Thiruvananthapuram: Bottled drinking water in Kerala will henceforth cost Rs 13 a litre with the Left government deciding to bring packaged water under the ambit of the Essential Commodities Act with a view to regulate its price. One litre of bottled water presently costs Rs 20 in the state.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman on Thursday said the government decided to regulate the price of bottled water after receiving widespread complaints from the public about its exorbitant price. "A notification on the new price-- Rs 13 per litre-- will be issued within two days. We have taken legal opinion on bringing bottled water under the category of essential commodities," he told PTI.
Though the government had mulled cutting the price to Rs 11-12 two years ago, it could not be implemented due to protests from large scale bottled water manufacturers and traders, the minister said. "There were widespread complaints against the price. A section of manufacturers had opposed the price cut. When we had convened a meeting, local traders also opposed our proposal to sell it in the Rs 11-12 range," he said.
The minister said now the price cut was possible as bottled water has been made an essential commodity. Asked if the Left government has plans to bring any other products in the list of essential commodities, he said though there were no such plans as of now they would definitely intervene and take effective measures if the general public had any complaints.
A top office-bearer of the Kerala Bottled Water Manufacturers Association said they had been willing to bring down the MRP to Rs 12 two years ago itself, however a group of members were against it. "It will be a crime if the price of packaged drinking water exceeds Rs 13 inside Kerala now," the Association president K Muhammed told PTI.
At present there are 200-odd packaged drinking water manufacturers in the state, he said adding some were allegedly functioning without licence against whom the government would have to take stern action.