By: Kimberly Rodrigues
In a peculiar incident, a government official decided to drain a dam of water after losing his expensive smartphone while attempting to take a selfie at the Kherkatta Dam in Chhattisgarh, central India.
Rajesh Vishwas, a food officer, dropped his Samsung S23 phone, worth (Rs 96,000) or (£ 941,44) into the deep waters of the reservoir.
Determined to recover his device, Vishwas decided to empty out the dam, which ultimately led to his suspension and the initiation of disciplinary actions against another official involved, India Today reported.
Vishwas claimed that he had obtained verbal permission from a senior official to drain out 3-4 feet of water from the dam, which had a depth of 15 feet.
With the assistance of a 30-horsepower pump, he commenced the draining operation, which persisted for three days.
Astonishingly, a staggering amount of water, equivalent to the amount required for irrigating 1,500 acres of farmland, was emptied from the reservoir.
Despite the extensive efforts, Vishwas did manage to retrieve his phone; however, it was rendered non-functional after being submerged for three days.
The incident gained attention when it was revealed that the water level of the dam had significantly decreased by over 10 feet.
Vishwas defended his actions by stating that the water being drained was considered unusable for irrigation purposes, and the pumping cost approximately (Rs 8,000) or around (£78).
He further claimed that no farmers were adversely affected by the water depletion.
Nevertheless, both Vishwas and RC Dhivar, a sub-divisional officer (SDO) from the water resources department who had given verbal permission for the drainage, now face consequences for their involvement.
Vishwas has been suspended, while Dhivar has been ordered to pay for the colossal waste of water during the peak of summer.
Dhivar is expected to provide a response within a day, failing which disciplinary measures will be pursued against him.
Notably, Vishwas has attempted to deflect blame onto others, asserting that it was the villagers who suggested draining the water after unsuccessful attempts to locate his phone due to the reservoir’s dirty water.
He claimed to have believed that there was a 99 per cent chance of finding his phone by resorting to this method.
Furthermore, Vishwas contended that the senior official from the water resources department assured him that the water was not being utilised for any crucial purposes, which prompted him to proceed with the drainage.
The incident has sparked criticism, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing government officials of treating the region as their “ancestral property.”
Former Chief Minister Raman Singh voiced concerns over the wastage of thousands of litres of water at a time when people are reliant on water tankers to combat the extreme heat.