The Chhattisgarh government has imposed a fine of Rs 53,092 on an official who allegedly drained out 41 lakh litres of water from a reservoir to retrieve his mobile phone.
The Water Resources department imposed the fine on Rajesh Vishwas, a food inspector posted in Pakhanjore area of Kanker district, an official said on Tuesday.
Vishwas was earlier suspended after the incident at Paralkot weir came to light.
In a letter to him, the department said he drained out water from the cistern of a waste weir using a diesel pump without seeking permission from the competent authority after his mobile phone fell into it.
This act was illegal under the Chhattisgarh Irrigation Act, it said.
Vishwas wasted 4,104 cubic meters of water (41 lakh litres) for which he has been asked to pay Rs 43,092 at the rate of Rs 10.50 per cubic meter, the letter said.
Besides, a penalty of Rs 10,000 has been imposed for evacuating water without permission, the letter stated.
The official was, thus, asked to pay a total of Rs 53,092 to the department within ten days.
Vishwas had gone to the reservoir for an outing with friends on May 21 when his mobile phone fell into the cistern of a waste weir while he was taking a selfie.
He then allegedly roped in villagers and got diesel pumps to empty the water till the phone was finally fished out on May 25.
After the incident came to light next day, Kanker collector Priyanka Shukla sought a report, following which the official was suspended.
The collector also issued a show-cause notice to the sub-divisional officer of the Water Resources department R C Dhivar for allegedly giving verbal permission to drain out water.
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