KIIDC plans to market water under its own ‘Hilly Aqua’ bottled water brand name
The bottled drinking water plant at Aruvikkara has finally cleared the water quality test of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), paving the way for the launch of much-delayed commercial operations.
The Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation (KIIDC), the Irrigation Department agency that now manages the ₹16-crore facility, is now awaiting the formal issue of the BIS certification. It will enable KIIDC to obtain clearance from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). which too is required to commercially market the bottled water.
“Initially, we hope to launch 20-litre jars in the market in the first week of November in collaboration with Kudumbashree,” a senior KIIDC official said. It plans to market the water under its own ‘Hilly Aqua’ bottled water brand name.
Water quality tests performed after KIIDC took over the facility from the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had failed BIS tests on account of fungi presence in the water. KIIDC had taken steps to rectify the problem and a second inspection was carried out by a BIS team on October 12.
Although the KWA completed the construction of the 7,200 litres-per-hour facility in 2018, the government-run water utility was unable to obtain the BIS certification owing to technical problems. Subsequently, the government had decided, much to the chagrin of the KWA trade unions, to hand over the facility to KIIDC, which markets the Hilly Aqua brand.
Govt. pumps in ₹2 cr. more
Meanwhile, the State government is pumping in an additional ₹2 crore to get the bottled drinking water plant at Aruvikkara up and running. The Water Resources Department has issued orders sanctioning the money to the KIIDC “to operationalise the bottled water plant in a time-bound manner.”
The plant has already cost the government ₹16 crore. But on takeover, the KIIDC had encountered several technical glitches that needed rectification.
In July, the Managing Director, KIIDC, informed the government that the KIIDC had scant budgetary support and the expenditure for the Aruvikkara facility was being met from KIIDC funds. It has spent approximately ₹20 lakh on rectifying technical issues at the plant, a senior official said.