UP to Regulate Water Use by Cola Firms
The Uttar Pradesh government plans to introduce an Act regulating
groundwater use by soft drink and mineral water makers shortly.
The Act has been given formal shape and will be tabled before the
state cabinet at the end of this month after the by-elections for
two Parliamentary and three Assembly seats.
The Act will require the companies to take a no-objection certificate
from the groundwater department and the district magistrates will
have the power to seize stocks and cancel licences on non-compliance.
Soft drink makers and mineral water companies in UP currently do not
need permission to use groundwater from any state authority.
M M Ansari, director of the groundwater division, told Business Standard
that these companies only need licences from the municipal corporation
and the health department and some do not bother to acquire even these.
The Act has been drafted after scrutinising similar Acts that are
being enforced by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa and Orissa.
Ansari said the regulation is being introduced because most districts
of UP have been found to have high levels of arsenic in water samples,
including in potable water. These districts are Meerut, Muzaffarnagar,
Pilibhit, Rampur, Saharanpur, Unnao, Bulandshahr, Behraich and Basti.
He added that in spite of this, 52 mineral water makers and two soft
drink bottling plants continued operations in Lucknow.
The groundwater department, according to the director, has warned
the state government on the level of arsenic in drinking water.
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