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World's cheapest water purifier from Tata

Last updated on: December 08, 2009 12:25 IST

WaterThe Tata group has done yet another Nano -- this time in the water purifier segment. Group company Tata Chemicals on Monday launched a compact water purifier, called 'Swachh', which means clean in Hindi.

Two variants of the purifier, priced at Rs 749 and Rs 999, will be available by the end of this month. Four other models would also be launched in the next six to 12 months.

"This opens up a completely new market," Tata Chemicals MD R Mukundan said here on Monday, after Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata launched the product. He added the intention is to sell a million units over the next 12 months.

The total water purification market, including industrial, municipal and households, is pegged at around Rs 10,000 crore. However, the share of household water purifiers in this is minimal. The cheapest water purifier in the market at present is HUL's Pureit and Eureka Forbes' Aquasure, which cost Rs 2,000 each.

Competitors declined to comment on the issue, saying they need time to study the product before taking a view. Tata Chemicals said Swach complies with US Environmental Protection Agency standards and does not require running water, power or boiling. Each filter for the Tata Swach, which is packaged as a 19-litre, teal and white plastic box, has a lifespan of 3,000 litres -- about enough to provide a family of five drinking water for a year.

The filter uses paddy husk ash as a matrix, bound with microscopic particles of silver to kill the bacteria that cause 80 percent of waterborne diseases, executives said. Paddy husk ash has long been known for its cleansing properties, and India produces about 20 million tonnes of it a year.

The filter was designed in a Tata Consultancy Services lab, while the silver nanotechnology was added by Tata Chemicals. Titan, Tata's watch subsidiary, made the precision machine tools to manufacture the filter.

The group's agrochemical firm, Rallis India, will distribute the product. The farm services business, Tata Kisan Sansar, will also be roped in. Mukundan said the company has set up a production unit in Haldia, West Bengal, which has an initial production capacity of one million units per annum.

Tata Chemicals has had test runs of the product in 600 households in Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

BS Reporter in Mumbai
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