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Thugs with political clout control unsafe jar water business in Dhaka

Thugs with political clout control unsafe jar water business in Dhaka

DHAKA: Orders from the ‘Bhais’ or influential people, however, are more important than concerns about public health to those running restaurants and other shops that sell the jar water to the unsuspecting consumers.

The retailers say they buy water packaged in jars from the plants of local politicians in order to run their business without any hassle. And the people who have registered water plants allege even they have to beg for backing from the political leaders to stay in the business.

Officials at Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution or BSTI admit they feel ‘helpless’ before the influence of the local politicians.

A government study recently found coliform bacteria in 97 percent of so-called filtered water supplied in jars to households, shops and offices in and around Dhaka.Pure Drinking Water Manufacturing Association of Bangladesh General Secretary Md Humayun Kabir said people from the ruling party ‘force shops to buy their water jars’.

Several BSTI officials said they faced obstructions from political leaders when they had tried to raid illegal water packaging plants.

One of the officials, requesting anonymity, said they use guile to shut these illegal plants.

“Sometimes we set up mobile courts on the streets, punishing those engaged in the illegal business when they carry the water jars,” he said.

BSTI Director General Sarder Abul Kalam, however, declines to comment on the issue, saying he only joined recently, suggesting he is not up to speed on this issue.