BHUBANESWAR: Twenty-eight-year-old Sridhar Sahoo’s only source of livelihood is the construction site near the Heads of Departments office in Bhubaneswar. Even in the scorching heat, he cannot afford to forgo a day’s work. And this summer, he is having to fork out a major part of his day’s earnings on buying water.
Sahoo makes Rs 210 a day but spends about Rs 40 on water sachets. That holds true for most working class people in urban and rural Odisha.
In urban pockets, Sridhar and his ilk manage to mix and match. Apart from water sachets, they shell out on buttermilk, pudina (mint) water and sugarcane juice. But a glass of sugarcane juice comes at Rs 10 while pudina water is available for Rs 5.
In rural Odisha though, the water sachet rules.
Needless to mention, makers of water sachets are hearing their cash registers ring. In Cuttack, where there are half a dozen such units, each firm manages to sell between three lakh and five lakh pouches.
The bigger producers make much more. On an average, a whopping 50 lakh pouches have been sold during March and April.
“We sell them in plastic bags, each one containing 100 pouches. A majority of these are sold in the small towns and villages,” said one producer. Taking advantage of the demand, illegal operators too have surfaced.