The Madras High Court has today permitted the state government of Tamil Nadu, India to temporarily allow packaged water production facilities to continue to operate without a licence until 31 July 2020.

The order comes in a bid to ensure that there is enough drinking water available across Tamil Nadu during the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The order will only apply to areas with safe and semi-critical groundwater availability, according to Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice R Suresh Kumar.

The temporary relief granted to packaged water producers comes with the condition that 15% of daily production is handed to the government to distribute at no cost to the public.

Before this order, the state government had previously closed all packaged water manufacturing sites.

Chennai Advocate General Vijay Narayan submitted this order following a plea for the government to ensure adequate drinking water.

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Narayan said: “Water packaging units may meet the Public Works Department (PWD) authorities concerned to work out the modalities of production and handing over of 15% of daily production to the state.”

The court bench said: “In view of the submissions of the advocate general, we permit the state to go ahead and issue necessary orders for the temporary scheme with suitable conditions for allowing production until 31 July.”