In a bizarre incident that has sparked outrage and disbelief, a government official in Chhattisgarh has been suspended after allegedly draining 21 lakh litres of water from a reservoir to recover his expensive smartphone. Rajesh Vishwas, a food officer in Kanker district, claimed that he received verbal permission from his senior to carry out this extraordinary measure.
Vishwas was holidaying at the Kherkatta Dam when he accidentally dropped his smartphone, worth ₹1 lakh, into the reservoir while clicking a selfie. Despite the phone falling into 15 feet of deep water, locals volunteered to help him retrieve it. However, their efforts proved futile due to the rocky surface of the reservoir.
Refusing to give up, Vishwas took matters into his own hands and enlisted the help of two 30 hp diesel pumps. These pumps ran continuously for three days, draining an astonishing 21 lakh litres of water from the reservoir. To put this quantity into perspective, it is enough to irrigate 1,500 acres of farmland. It is worth noting that the area has a water level of over 10 feet, even during the summer months when it is a valuable resource for both humans and animals.
In #Chhattisgarh, an officer's I-phone fell into a dam reservoir. Two pumps of 30 horsepower, ran 24 hrs, and pumped out-hold your breath- 21 lakh litres of #water, this water could have irrigated 1,500 acres of land, & this is when "there is severe shortage of water i the area ! pic.twitter.com/vBSol7EafS
— Ramandeep Singh Mann (@ramanmann1974) May 26, 2023
Vishwas justified his actions by stating that his phone contained official departmental data, making its retrieval essential. "I went to the dam on Sunday with a few friends to take a bath there on my off day. My phone slipped into the overflow tankers, whose water is not usable. It was 10 feet deep. Locals tried to find it but failed," he explained. Vishwas claimed that an official from the water resources department gave him permission to drain the water, asserting that it was not being utilized for any purpose.
However, the water resources department official later clarified that he had only approved the drainage of up to five feet of water. The amount extracted far exceeded the limit, resulting in a significant loss of a valuable resource.
Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and BJP leader Raman Singh strongly criticized the incident, accusing the current Congress government of treating the region as their personal property under a "dictatorial" regime.