KOCHI: Even though government-backed Mineral Water company Hilly Aqua is providing high-quality water at a cheap rate, the low commission given to the traders is preventing them from stocking it at their shops.Hilly Aqua is a new brand of packaged drinking water from Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (KIIDC), a Government of Kerala owned company. It has been on the market for the past two years. The mineral water is bottled after it undergoes a purification process that includes sand filtration, activated carbon filtration, UV treatment, micron filtration, reverse osmosis and ozonisation process. But still, it is not so popular among the public.
Hilly Aqua has its plant at Thodupuzha. The quality of the product is constantly checked and is on par with the international standards. “The quality of water is on par with the several international companies. But the main problem we faces is low pricing. A one-litre bottle of Hilly Aqua comes at an MRP of R15. The traders get a commission of R6.30 for a one-litre bottle. On the other hand, if they sell a one-litre bottle of other brands, the traders get a commission of more than R10. The MRP for those bottles is R20. Even the international brands provide a commission of R8 for a one-litre bottle,” Dominic John, the distributor of Hill Aqua in Ernakulam district said.
Hilly Aqua comes in Pet 1 category bottle. Currently, Hilly Aqua has four outlets in Ernakulam district- Kakkanad, Kolencherry, Palichirangara and Nedumbassery. At the food court outside Kakkanad District Jail, Hilly Aqua bottles are sold at a cheap price. A one-litre bottle costs R10. Another outlet will soon begin at Nerimangalam. “On a daily basis, only 3,000 bottles of Hilly Aqua is sold in Ernakulam district.
We also have 500 ml and two-litre bottles. Since it is a Kerala government venture the quality of the water is 100 percent ensured. But the company has a low profile since the product has not been advertised much,” he said.
An officer with the Food Safety Department said the sale of mineral water is the highest in Kochi. “There are more than 50 local mineral water companies operating in Kochi. Some are registered while others operate clandestinely. Before consuming water, the people should ensure its quality,” he said.