Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I smells me a rat

I am working on a project to bring water filters to homes which do not have access to clean drinking water. I am in the midst of trying to test it to be sure it filters all contaminants and price the water filters.

I found out about the filter from the local Rotary Club. They are doing a similar project. They got a donation to underwrite $4 of the $5 (350 rupee) cost from an American Rotary club. They will buy about 1000 of them. I had a certain level of confidence in the club because it is made up of a lot of powerful businessmen and leaders of the community.

I was talking to a friend about it and a half hour into our conversation she said "I have had one for a couple of years. It is really good!" The next time we met she said, "our filter only cost 200 rupees (about $3.50). She looked at the filter I got as a sample and it is the same as hers. I asked her to call the factory where I got a sample (for 350 rupees), and she was told they are 250 rupees. It was the only type of water filter that I saw at the factory.

I am having a friend go and buy one to be certain something is wrong. If the water filter is the same as the one I bought and the Rotary Club is getting, why are they being charged 350 rupees for it and an individual can buy one for 250 rupees. It is hard to believe these sophisticated businessmen would be cheated for 100,000 rupees (to put it in perspective this is the equivalent of several years salary for a teacher).

I really hope there is something I do not understand and everything is on the up and up, but I smell a rat.

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