Pi-Lo, a start-up venture to provide affordable drinking water to people in Delhi, was born out of an idea that came to its founders at a time of churning in the political landscape. “The idea struck us when we travelled through the streets of Delhi during the Anna Hazare-led protests. We found that across the city, there was no access to cheap and clean water,” said Ajay Yadav, one of the founders of Pi-Lo. He said the options were to pay either Rs 10 or Rs 20 for packaged water, which then led to the generation of more plastic waste, or buy from water carts, where the quality is questionable. “Our idea was to cut both cost and plastic.”
Pi-Lo offers chilled water for as low as Rs 2 for a 350 ml glass and Rs 5 for 1 litre. This is done through mobile water vending machines at 80 locations across 28 Metro stations. According to Yadav, the cost of production for bigger bottled water companies is roughly 30 paise per bottle. “Considering that the cost of production is low, the money they charge per unit is too high. They also produce large quantities of plastic.”
The company began its operations at four Metro stations in June last year. Jatin Ahlawat, another founder of the company, said the lack of drinking water facilities at Metro stations is what led them to think these places were perfect as starting points. The Noida-based company is aiming at expansion and wants to target bus depots, another area where access to clean drinking water is scarce.