Tamil Nadu’s Madurai has become the center of controversy over the sale of bottled water. It is the name of a Tamil Nadu government scheme and a local initiative in Madurai. The issue arose over the Tamil Nadu government’s initiative called ‘Amma drinking water’ being rebranded as ‘Kalaignar drinking water’ to supply bottled water to people at Rs 10 a bottle. The name Amma is used in Tamil Nadu politics to refer to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, whereas M Karunanidhi was affectionately referred to as Kalaignar by his supporters.
‘Kalaignar drinking water’ has recently been marketed for the same price in the neighborhood of Madurai as the ‘Amma drinking water’ scheme. In Madurai, this sparked a discussion about whether the MK Stalin government renamed the water project. Later, however, it emerged that the ‘Kalaignar drinking water’ was the result of an individual’s initiative. Kalaignar drinking water is currently awaiting a state license.
Jayalalithaa launched the Amma drinking water scheme in 2013. ‘Amma drinking water’ intends to provide affordable and quality drinking water to the poor and middle-class. In the assembly election earlier this year, Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK lost power to the DMK, which was previously led by Karunanidhi. His son MK Stalin took the DMK to triumph in the recent elections to take oath as the chief minister.