The Costly Water

04 Nov 2015

Drinking water taps on both sides of public roads were common during my school days. Slowly those water taps vanished. We got free water for few more years. All shops were ready to provide quality water to all. But today, we have to buy water.

The price of Diesel and Petrol is increasing. We are worried because these are essential goods. But, water—a non-essential good — does not attract our attention. Watch this Finolex Video. oh! that Water part is way after Money, Petrol, WiFi, and Love.

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After a long time, I took my family to Pizza Hut near HSR Layout BDA complex in Bengaluru on Feb 20, 2015. We had decided not to buy any soft drinks. We ordered a one-litre bottle of mineral water. They served us Aquafina one litre bottle (see the picture). The MRP printed on it was Rs. 40/-.

Left: packaged on 08 Jan 2015, priced MRP Rs. 40 bought from PizzaHut. 

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Right: packaged on 20 Jan 2015 is priced MRP Rs. 20 bought at Rs. 15 from Metro store.

On Feb 22, 2015, we happened to visit the Metro store on Bangalore-Hosur Road, Bangalore. Out of curiosity, I checked the maximum retail price (MRP) printed on a one litre Aquafina bottle. It was Rs. 20/- We bought a bottle of Aquafina from Metro to get the wholesale price. After tax, it was less than Rs. 15/-. With such price difference, you can buy two bottle of AquaFina from normal stores at the price of one from any of the nearby hotels.

This is not the case just with Pizza Hut. Several eateries and hotels are charging too high for Water. Several of these hotels even have a ban on bringing drinking water from outside. Basically forcing you to buy water from the restaurant. 

Wait, it is not over. After the Service Charge and Service Tax is added to the bill, the actual cost of your one litre of water goes way above the MRP.

My doubts:

  • Why is there different MRPs for the same product within the same city same area?
  • Why do hotels and eateries charge so high for water?
  • Why government is not acknowledging the issue and taking necessary steps to curb the price by introducing a Maximum MRP?
What can we do?
  • Carry a bottle for water with you.
  • Avoid buying water bottles from hotels. 
  • Insist on providing good drinking water while buying food from shops.
  • Support initiatives such as Amrutdhara.
Amrutdhara in
On a similar note:

1. Petition Filed by Law students in 2010 before the Urban District Consumer Forum

Updates and External Links:
1. The Logical Indian story: Hyderabad Hotel Pays Rs. 20,000 As Fine For Overcharging Rs 20 On A Water Bottle 
2. The Logical India Story:  Chandigarh: Restaurant Asked To Pay Fine Of Rs 12,000 For Charging Rs. 312 For 2 Water Bottles

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