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December 8, 2009

Tata's water purifier to benefit billions across India, developing world

     London: The Tata Group has come up with a 10-pound filter that promises to provide purified water matching strict US standards, may come as a boon to millions of underprivileged people in India, and billions across the developing world. Resembling a water cooler, Tata Swach has not been designed for posh offices, but for cramped village huts and tiny city slum shacks. The germ-laden water is poured into the top, and the clear liquid that emerges meets the latest American regulations on water purification standards, The Times reports. The 2ft purifier, named after the Hindi word for clean, is priced within reach of poor Indians, and does not need a source of running water or electricity - key factors in a country where 400 million people are not connected to the national grid. The potential market is vast: across the developing world one billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. "This opens up a complete new market. It doesn't compete with any existing product," said R. Mukundan, an executive of Tata, which owns Jaguar Land Rover in Britain. The key component is a replaceable filter that uses rice husk ash as a matrix, to which microscopic particles of silver are attached to kill the bacteria that cause waterborne diseases. The filter can be used to purify 3,000 litres before it needs to be replaced - enough to last the average Indian family 200 days, Tata said.
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