Spot the difference! Spurious products flood Agra

May 21st, 2009 - 11:47 am ICT by IANS  

By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, May 21 (IANS) Did the bottled water at the railway station here taste a bit different? Did the ice cream leave a bitter taste? Welcome to the city of the Taj Mahal, where according to the police and social activists, spurious products have flooded the market.

“At the Agra railway station you can get fake Bisleri and other famous brands of water bottles and since the passengers are in a hurry, there is no time to lodge a complaint,” said Manohar Gidwani, a social activist.

If you take a look around you can find a wide variety of spurious products from bottled water, edible oils, sauces, squashes, soft drink concentrate and even fake education degrees.

“You can do nothing against the shopkeepers because they never give you a cash memo,” said Padmini, a homemaker.

When a month ago a 10,000-litre-a-day synthetic milk producing unit was sealed in the Nunihai industrial area, it rang alarm bells.

B.P. Ashok, superintendent of police, had told IANS at the time: “A raid was conducted at seven to eight places. We got information that synthetic milk is being manufactured. We had information that some synthetic ingredients were mixed in the milk.”

Last week a factory specialising in manufacture of tomato sauce and squashes and soft drink concentrates was raided near the Poiya Ghat area of the city. Police sealed thousands of labels and wrappers of leading brands. A concentrate similar to Rooh Afza, called Roo Ajja, was being produced in the factory.

Monday evening the police scored another success after its raid on an ice cream factory which had unaccounted stocks worth over Rs.1 crore (Rs.10 million). Police also found packing material, labels and wrappers.

Stocks of skimmed milk powder, chemicals, labels of Roo Ajja, containers, essences of strawberry, pineapple and empty bottles were seized from the factory located in a farmhouse. The factory is said to belong to a Samajwadi Party leader, according to police.

Four people have been arrested from the factory while the owner is absconding, police said.

“It seems lots of people are now convinced that in a highly competitive market system, it is not possible to produce and sell your own products. The easy way out is to duplicate established brands,” said Johri Bazar businessman Bankey Lal Maheshwari.

“The advances in the printing and packaging industry is proving a great help. The city is a safe and major channel for supplying spurious products to neighbouring states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,” Maheshwari added.

(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at

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