Punjab chief parliamentary secretary (CPS), health, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu here on Wednesday raided local soft drinks and packaged water manufacturing units.
During the raids, the CPS found these units to be functioning illegally without requisite licences and trained staff, and in unhygienic conditions.
Dr Sidhu said, “The raids were conducted on illegal factories being run under the names of Pal Food Products, Mohan Kold Drinks and SS Enterprises, and manufacturing packaged water and soft drinks under the brand names of Aqua Shine, Aqua Gold, Lemoni, Limc and Finda.”
She added that these factories were not only running sans licences in unhygienic conditions and without trained staff and bacteriological testing but also did not have any market price and manufacturing/expiry dates embossed on the bottles.
“Ammonia bottles, colouring agents and concentrates were also found on these premises,” she said. “All rules regarding bottling material used, ingredients used for manufacturing soft drinks and labelling were being openly flouted,” she claimed.
Dr Sidhu said the material was scrutinised and samples collected under the supervision of the civil surgeon, Amritsar. “The marketing of products manufactured in these units has been stopped until the laboratory testing reports are examined,” she added.
She said all civil surgeons and district health officers across the state would be directed to check all such centres and seal these till they get proper ISI (Indian Standards Institute) certification and approved licences from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
According to the CPS, there are 47 manufacturing units of packaged drinking water in Punjab that are registered with BIS and have the ISI mark. “This registration is mandatory in case of packaged drinking water under government and departmental rules. These units also have chemical and microbiological laboratories for regular testing of water and they pay license fee and sales tax and indoor-outdoor testing charges,” she revealed.
Dr Sidhu added that more than 100 units of packaged drinking water in Punjab were operating without mandatory ISI certification. “The duly registered plants are suffering because of these non-ISI plants and most of them are on the verge of closure,” she said.