Mineral water companies aren’t willing to pay Rs1 to buy ground water even though they are selling it for Rs52, said Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
During a hearing on Thursday at the Supreme Court, he said water no longer comes in people’s taps.
We should shut down this industry that has sucked up all our ground water and has made the land barren.
The court was hearing a suo motu notice of companies selling ground water without paying for it first.
Aitizaz Ahsan appeared on behalf of the mineral water companies. He said there are costs to retrieve, treat and bottle the water.
“Why don’t we do this, we’ll turn off your turbines and tell companies to provide people tap water,” said Justice Nisar.
No company selling water is paying for it, he observed, adding that they’ve taken water worth billions without even paying thousands for it.
He said people are putting on airs these days and leave bottles of water half full. He told the people that they should drink water from the taps. “People in rural areas drink water from the taps, its only city dwellers who put on such airs,” said the top judge.
If companies want to work then they should pay Rs1 per litre to the government. In response, Ahsan said they are willing to pay Rs0.5 per litre.
Justice Nisar said the mineral water companies aren’t willing to pay Rs1 but they charge Rs52 for a single bottle of water. These companies have sucked Lahore and Sheikhapura dry, he said, adding that the water level in Lahore has dropped to 400 feet.