BOTTLED CHAUHAN SPITS FIRE AT RIVALS 

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By FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 19.06.02
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New Delhi, June 19 :    New Delhi, June 19:  Ramesh Chauhan, the chairman of Bisleri, today blasted his multinational rivals for the unseemly controversy that led to the revocation of his licence to make bottled water. A little over three weeks ago, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) ordered the cancellation of Bisleri's licence after it emerged that some bottles aboard an Alliance Air flight did not carry the ISI mark, a mandatory requirement. Bisleri is the largest selling brand with a market share of around 45 per cent in the Rs 1,000-crore bottled water industry. Its main rivals are Coca-Cola with its Kinley brand and Pepsi with Aquafina. Chauhan, who held a late night press conference here, said: "Nobody is going to succeed in this kind of competitive rivalry. The revoking of our licence is an attempt to damage the Bisleri name which we have built over 35 years." He refused to say who had engineered the whole episode, but added, "We have suspicions in our minds." Chauhan said the BIS had not shown to Bisleri the offending bottles in question which did not bear the ISI mark. On Wednesday, Chauhan met the secretary, consumer affairs - which is the appellate authority - where it was decided that a technical audit of Bisleri's Delhi plant would be undertaken. An outer limit of seven days has been given to sort out the issue. Chauhan said he expected his licence to be restored within 2-3 days. The showcause notice to Bisleri was issued towards the end of April. Chauhan, however, admitted that despite the cancellation of licence, the plant had continued to operate as, he claimed, the cancellation of the licence was 'bad in law'. He claimed that Bisleri used to outsource the printing on the bottles and the missing ISI mark could have resulted due to human error. He said the licence was cancelled only on the labelling issue, but admitted that later that BIS had raised some extraneous issues relating to packaging materials issued for the 200ml glass packs.