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“Educating Consumers Is Our Biggest Challenge”

Mahesh Gupta, chairman, Kent RO Systems, talks about the challenges faced by the water purifying industry and how his company is driving innovative solutions to overcome them

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Mahesh Gupta, chairman, Kent RO Systems, talks to Businessworld’s Brij Pahwa about the challenges faced by the water purifying industry and how his company is driving innovative solutions to overcome them. Excerpts:

What are the challenges facing the water purifying industry today?

As we all know, pure drinking water is very important for people’s health. The perception in India today is that boiling the water can make it pure enough to drink. Now, this is an anomaly because we know that boiling will kill bacteria and virus but will not remove what is soluble in water. So our biggest challenge still is to educate consumers that better methods exist to purify water.

The water purifying industry has still not penetrated rural India. Is Kent taking any steps to ensure penetration?

Yes. In rural India, the challenge besides bacteria and virus is the high amount of arsenic in water especially in the eastern parts of India, and a high amount of fluoride in western and northern India. We have come out with a gravity-based water purifier which removes arsenic from the water. With this, we can make pure water available in rural India and to the poor people. The challenge again lies in educating people about how this low-cost purifier can remove arsenic from water.

In the face of growing competition, how do you plan to sustain yourself?
Well, I don’t look at the fact that competition is getting intense. We have reached only 2 per cent households and my real challenge is to reach out to the remaining 98 per cent households in the country. We need to look at the process of education and the price. So I’m not really looking at competition.

Kent has won many awards for innovation. Tell us about your new products.
We have recently launched a smart water purifier. It senses the flow rate of water being purified along with the quality of the water and displays it to the consumers. We are also making an app through which you can get the same details on your smartphone. Air purification is another area we are working in. As we know, pollution is also is causing many airborne diseases. We want the consumers to feel that they can take care of these diseases.

Tell us about the latest car air purifier.
The pollution on the road is too heavy and as soon as you enter your car, that is where you experience it the most and we would like for the people who spend a large amount of time on the road to be pollution-free inside their cars with air conditioners running. If they can use air purifiers in their cars, then they can remove particulate contamination and make the air clean.

What are your future plans?

Our plan is get into healthcare segments. We are looking at solutions by which people can drink pure water, breathe pure air and eat healthy food free of all chemicals and pesticides besides health related equipment in the purity space.

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