Eateries across Bengaluru have been issued an official notice to provide free drinking water to consumers, after one woman filed a complaint in a consumer court and won.
In May 2016, social activist Sudha Katwa was dining with her relatives in a popular food chain in a mall in Bengaluru when her request for clean drinking water was denied.
Instead, she was told by staff that she would have to purchase a packaged bottle of drinking water.
Appalled by this, she filed a case at the Bengaluru Urban District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (DCDRF), a forum for consumer complaints, and just over one year later not only has she won her case, but she’s also ensured that others will gain from her victory too.
Speaking with the Times of India, Sudha said, “People are asked to pay for drinking water though it is the responsibility of the hotel/eatery to provide it for free. In some cases, eateries provide water but the surroundings are unhygienic. Most of the time, it’s kept next to toilets. A mall in west Bengaluru has 34 food outlets on one of its floors and drinking water is available at just one remote corner. In most malls, customers are forced to either run around to find water or pay for water bottles.”
Because of Suddha’s complaint, all multiplexes, restaurants, hotels and eateries across the city of Bengaluru are to ensure customers have access to free and clean drinking water on their premises. They have also been instructed to display boards at strategic points making consumers aware that drinking water is available. The order was ushered in by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner N Manjunath Prasad.
Consumers can file different types of complaints depending on their specific grievance by visiting the Consumer Court at the district, state or national level along with the documents required for filing the complaint. However, consumers are advised to call the National Consumer Helpline as a first port of call with any complaints.