Mumbai: Maharashtra ministers, secretaries and other government staffers working at the state secretariat have consumed a total of 24,684 litres of bottled mineral water at a cost of Rs 4.66 lakh in the last 5 months, a Right to Information query has revealed.
The same amount of water if bought from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) would have cost the government around Rs 171 as the civic body charges Rs 4.32 plus sewerage charges totalling Rs 6.912 for 1,000 litres of water supplied through its pipelines.
Anil Galgali, a Mumbai based activist had filed an RTI query with the state government seeking to know the total cost and the quantity of consumption of 'Bisleri' water at 'Mantralaya' (state secretariat).
In response to his query, J M Salvi, General Manager and Public Information Officer of the Mantralaya Canteen informed Galgali that between December 2014 and April 2015, a total of 83,628 'Bisleri' bottles of water were purchased at a cost of Rs 4,66,019.
Out of these, the maximum usage was of 250 ml bottles accounting for 68,976 bottles amounting to Rs 3,67,642.
The second maximum usage was 14,496 bottles of 500 ml bottles amounting to Rs 96,688.
Also, 156 one litre bottles were consumed totalling Rs 1,689.
Galgali had also sought copies of the government resolution authorising the purchase of bottled water, apart from the water supply of the MCGM, which he was not provided with.
"At a time when the state is reeling under severe drought, and the citizens are craving for even single drop of water, people who are supposed to be the sevaks (servants) of citizens are indulging in wasteful expenditure by consuming mineral water," Galgali said in his letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
He said the water supplied by the MCGM has high quality standards and thus the CM should instruct all those working at Mantralaya to use water supplied by the civic body for drinking purposes.
"If any minister or a bureaucrat wants to consume bottled mineral water, then they should buy that water and pay from their own pockets," Galgali said.
Interestingly, there is an 'Aquaguard' water purifying system installed by government in Mantralaya, he added.