Chennai: For those who blindly trust the private dealers supplying 'sealed' plastic cans of 'mineral water', here is a shocker. Quite a lot of them contain impure water and fake labels of known brands to cheat the end consumer, according to the government food safety officials who carried out verification of the cans being ferried in vans and mini-trucks across Chennai.
The officials stopped several of these vehicles carrying huge stocks of 'mineral water' cans at Koyambedu metro rail station to carry out extensive checks and found large-scale fraud in the quality of water and also the use of labels for winning the customer's confidence.
Similar checks to verify the ISI, FSSAI certification, labeling and quality of the water, were carried out at Retteri signal at Kolathur and at the Vijay Nagar bus stand in Velachery.
At the end of the elaborate checks, the officials seized 48 cans for not sporting the FSSAI licenses and another 152 cans for soiled condition and visible damage.
Also, 245 cans were seized for not carrying labels. In all, 649 defective water cans have been seized out of the total 3632 cans checked in 35 vehicles. Contaminated water from several filthy cans was emptied onto the roads, officials said.
They said action under the Food Safety Standards Act would be initiated against the offenders and periodical checks of similar nature would be carried out to ensure that unscrupulous players do not exploit the acute water shortage in the city.
“There have been instances of the end-dealer charging as much as Rs 50 per one 25-litre can as against the usual cost ranging between 20 and 25 rupees. Apart from the price, these unscrupulous elements are also filling up the cans with unclean water and peddling them as mineral water”, said a housewife at Thiruvanmiyur.
Said another 'knowledgeable' customer, who claimed her family was the victim of polluted water bought as 'mineral water' in cans, “We will not touch these cans if only we take the pains to visit the deep-bore and open wells and check the conditions under which these cans get filled up for public use”.
The best option, she says, is to depend on the civic body for supplies and boil the water before consumption....