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Sunday Sep 16 2018

SC orders chemical examination of samples from mineral water companies


LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Sunday ordered chemical examination and forensic audit of samples from mineral water companies. 

A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing a suo motu notice regarding the sale of drinking water. 

The court observed that it was time to give back to the country. "Companies drilling to access groundwater have made profits worth billions of rupees yet they paid nearly nothing to the government," the chief justice said. 

Justice Nisar remarked that a litre of water is sold for Rs50 but only one-eighth of this price is given to the government. "An international mineral water company earned Rs6 billion in profit in just a year. Anyone using natural water resources needs to be taxed," he said. 

"The children of Pakistan will not have access to water if this situation continues," Justice Nisar remarked. 

The Supreme Court also took notice of large housing schemes using water free of cost. "Those societies that obtain water through tube wells yet charge residents and don't pay a rupee to the government will be held accountable," Justice Nisar said, adding that the court will hear a case pertaining to the same in the next week.  

Furthermore, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said that companies selling water are paying the lowest price to obtain the natural resource. The court also noted that large developers are earning hundreds of billions by using water free of cost. 

The court had earlier rejected a petition by the mineral water companies to allow a month's time for audit.