After ‘Sabari Jalam’ by the Forest Department, bottled water by the Irrigation Department, Hill Aqua, will hit the markets by March to ensure that quality water is provided at a reasonable price in the state.
The state government had taken the initiative to produce ‘Sabari Jalam’ when there were reports that sub-standard drinking water is distributed to Sabarimala pilgrims during the season.
Another attraction of the drinking water of Forest Department is that the customer will get `1 back if the plastic bottle is returned.
Following the footsteps of the Forest Department, the Irrigation Department too is all set to launch its product in the market. The bottling plant will come up at the land of Irrigation Department near Malankara dam site of Muvattupuzha Valley Irrigation Project. The bottling water project is being undertaken by the Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (KIIC).
KIIC MD P Anil Kumar said the building for the plant is under construction and is expected to be completed by next month.
“It is now proposed to launch ‘Hilly Aqua’, bottled drinking water by the Irrigation Department, by March next year. The machinery to be installed here will be equipped with the capacity to purify 9,000 litres of water in an hour,” Anil Kumar said. The KICC would set up a lab for maintaining quality as per ISI standards. The water to be purified for bottling will be taken from Malankara Dam reservoir. The total cost of the building and plant will be approximately `7.5 crore.
During the initial phase, the production will be on one shift which can produce 72,000 litres of pure water a day.
According to Anil Kumar, the marketing strategy is yet to be planned by the department but when the market becomes steady, the production will be increased by adding another shift. The Forest Department has set up its bottling plant at Moozhickal, near the Kuttikkayam forest station in Periyar Tiger Reserve. It has the capacity to produce 1,500 1-litre bottles of drinking water.