Producing and bottling ‘mineral water’ in unhygienic condition has turned into a booming business across Khulna division.
Sixteen business entities have been operating fraudulent water treatment and filtration plants throughout the division without having license from the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI).
According to sources at the BSTI, the state-run testing institution issued licenses to eight companies of Khulna against some 24 applications to produce ‘mineral water’.
However, the remaining 16 companies have been operating their business without getting the ‘go-ahead’ approval, the sources added.
These business entities are Madhumati Foara Fesh Water and Nafi Drinking Water of Bagerhat, Foara Drinking Water of and SAS Food and Beverage of Jessore, Niklapur Food and Beverage, Life Pure Drinking Water, Rain Water, Bristi Pure Drinking Water, Eco Drinking Water, Burnil Enterpirse, Paris Corporation, SF Syndicate and RM Pure Drinking Water of Khulna, JSL Enterprise of Bagerhat, Ashraf Mineral Drinking Water and Sardar and Sardar Business Complex of Satkhira.
Visiting some illegal water treatment plants in Khulna city, the UNB correspondent found the workers producing ‘mineral water’ in a very unhygienic environment illegally using BSTI logos on the labels of their bottles.
BSTI Assistant Director Mrinal Kanti Biswas said they have carried out several drives to find out the unauthorised water treatment plants in the division.
The BSTI, he said, fined Tk 1.5 lakh to illegal water treatment plants in the last nine months and filed cases against six plants in the current year over several irregularities in producing drinking water.
BSTI sources said recently they revoked the licenses of Eco Drinking Water of Khulna city and Joy Pure Drinking Water of Bagerhat for producing mineral water in a contaminated condition and for not attaching price tag and manufacturing date on the labels of their bottles.
The BSTI officials also filed cases against MT Traders and Paris Corporation on the same ground, sources added.
Deputy Director of BSTI M Abdul Bari said they cannot carry out drives throughout the district for lack of manpower.
Sayed Rabiul Alam, Deputy Director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection’s Khulna office, said the authorities are taking legal action against the water treatment plants for producing water in unhygienic condition and for not publishing production dates on the labels of water bottles.
Contacted, Civil Surgeon of Khulna district Dr SM Abdur Razzak said drinking of contaminated water causes various diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid and jaundice.
Razzak urged the authorities concerned to take legal action against the illegal water treatment plants to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases.