I was rather surprised to learn that VEEN, a luxury mineral water brand from the far-away land of Finland, will soon be starting a bottling operation in Samste, exporting Bhutan's water to India:
"The company will now be introducing two new variants - VEEN Still and VEEN Classic. VEEN Spring will be bottled from Samste, Bhutan ... The source, which VEEN purchased in November 2013, has a flow capacity of 25 million litres of water per year. The Bhutan facility will be fully functional by this month-end." — Business Today articleBhutan has a good track record of carefully managing its environment, and thus I find this puzzling. Water is a natural resource - like timber, minerals, or oil. And bottled water is a very controversial issue. Who has the rights to Bhutan's water? I am surprised mainly because I don't recall ever hearing any discussion or reading about this initiative in the Bhutanese media or anywhere else.
PS: There are enough status-obsessed Indians who have no problem paying exuberant prices for water. The 660ml glass VEEN bottle will be sold at an MRP of Rs 110, while the 330ml will be a bargain at Rs 77.
This translates to anywhere between US$2700 and US$3500 per 1 m3 (one cubic meter) of water. How much of that, by the way, will find its way back to Bhutan?
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