NGT forms panel to probe illegal water units in city

The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) southern Bench has sought details regarding the number of units functioning illegally in the sale of packaged drinking water without getting necessary permission and also without complying with prescribed norms for drinking water in the city.
NGT forms panel to probe illegal water units in city

Chennai

The tribunal also formed a committee to look into the issue. Justice K Ramakrishnan, Judicial Member and Saibal Dasgupta made the observation while hearing the suo moto petition based on a news report which alleged that spurious packaged drinking water was being sold in cans in Chennai and its surroundings on a larger scale. “It is a serious affair that the water quality that is being sold under the guise of mineral water by the packaging unit is not in conformity with the standard provided. We do not know about the present status of such units and what action has been taken by the Pollution Control Board as well as Commissioner of Food Safety and Drugs Administration, Chennai in respect of this aspect,” said the tribunal.

Appointing a joint committee comprising of District Collector of Chennai, Commissioner of Food Safety and Drugs Administration, Commissioner of the Greater Chennai Corporation and TNPCB, the bench said, “The committee should submit a comprehensive report regarding the number of units functioning illegally and what was the action taken by the authorities against such violators including imposition of environmental compensation for extracting unauthorized groundwater and selling the same illegally.”

They are also directed to take water samples from such units to ascertain whether they are in conformity with the norms for drinking water, apart from obtaining necessary permission and consent. The committee shall submit its report within a period of three months to the tribunal.

The bench took the case suo moto on July 4, 2016, and directed the Deputy Director (South), Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS) and the Commissioner to file a detailed report on the issue. On July 28, 2016, Commissioner of Food Safety and Drugs Administration submitted that out of 50 samples taken in five districts – Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Coimbatore and Madurai – 16 samples confirm to standards while the remaining were either sub-standard or misbranded and unsafe.

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