By stockOzone team
The Tata Group on Monday announced the launch of probably the world’s cheapest water purifier, as part of the conglomerate’s efforts to stem growing water-related diseases. Called Swach, the purifier, developed jointly by Tata group companies Tata Chemicals, TCS and Titan, will have two variants with retail prices of Rs 749 and Rs 999 respectively.
“The quest is not to create the cheapest products,” chairman Ratan Tata said at the launch. “Our focus is on accessing the largest number of people. That is what drove (the efforts on) Nano, that is what drove the low cost housing project and that is what is driving this too,” he added.
The product, which has been pitched against consumer goods giant Unilever’s PureIt, will use distribution network of Tata group companies such as Rallis and the Tata Kisan Sansar, a rural-centric resource center. Tata Salt’s distribution network would also be tapped while NGOs and local help groups will also be roped in. The $71-billion Tata group, one of India’s oldest business families, has been involved with various mass utility projects and innovative products, including the supercomputer Eka.
Earlier this year, the group caught the world’s fancy when it launched what is called the cheapest ever car, for Rs 100,000, driven by the 71-year old chairman’s dream to sell affordable cars to the country’s rising middle class. The company has also ventured into low cost housing.
Based on a concept developed by the TCS Innovation Labs, TRDDC, the Swach combines low-cost ingredients, such as rice husk ash with nano technology. “Water-borne disease is the single greatest threat to global health, with diarrhea, jaundice, typhoid, cholera, polio, and gastroenteritis spread by contaminated water,” said Tata Chemicals MD R Mukundan.
Citing a 2007 United Nations report during a presentation to lauch the water purifier, Mr Mukundan said that half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-borne diseases. In India, such diseases cause more than 1.5 times the deaths caused by AIDS and double the deaths caused by road accidents, he added.
Built around a bulb-like water purifier made of natural elements such as rice husk ash filled with nano-silver particles, Tata Swach can function without electric power or running water. The cartridge bulb has a purification medium that kills bacteria and disease causing organisms. It can purify up to 3,000 litres of water, after which the cartridge stops water flow. Fifteen patents have been filed for the technology and product.
Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.