Tata launches 'Swach' water filters
After producing the world’s cheapest cars, followed by housing, Tata Group now forays into low cost purifying drinking water to millions of people in the country —— especially targeting the rural poor.
Tata Chemicals, on Monday, unveiled ‘Swach’, a innovative water purifier made from rick husk ash which does not require electricity nor running water to operate and is priced at Rs 999.
It is a replaceable filter-based product, which is entirely portable and based on low cost natural ingredients, which safeguards safe drinking water at a new marked benchmark of Rs 30 per month for a family of five. Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said: “… The social cost of water contamination is already enormous and increases every year. Although today’s announcement is about giving millions more people affordable access to safe water, it is an important step in the long term strategy to find a solution to provide affordable access to safe water for all.”
The purifier is collaborative product of Tata Group companies including Tata Chemicals, TCS and Titan developed using nano-technology by Tata Research Development and Design Centre, a subsidiary of TCS. Built around a (cartridge) bulb-like water purifier is packed with a purification medium which has the capability to kill bacteria and disease causing organisms and it can purifiy up to 3,000 litres of water after which the cartdrige stops water flow.
The water purifier, which is tested by seven labs including CFTRI in Mysore and Serum Institute in Mumbai and four abroad, gives the user enough lead time for cartridge replacement. In all, 14 patents have been filed for the technology and product, said R Mukundan, Managing Director of Tata Chem.
Tata’s device, based on a larger one that was supplied to areas affected by the December 2004 Asian tsunami, has been in development for three years and is targeted at the 85 percent of Indians who do not currently filter their water.
It has a 9.5-litre capacity and can filter 3,000 litres until the cartridge has to be replaced, which would last an average family of five for 200 days, said Mukundan. A number of other low-cost water purifiers are already on the market, including Hindustan Unilever’s battery-operated Pureit model, which has a 4.5-litre capacity and can filter up to 1,500 litres. Tatas have invested Rs 100 crore in the project and aims to sell three million units in the next five years.