Food inspector drains out 21 lakh litres of water from Chhattisgarh reservoir for lost phone, suspended
A 32-year-old food inspector posted in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district was suspended Friday after he drained out around 21 lakh litres of water from a reservoir next to a dam to fish out his recently-bought Samsung S23 Ultra phone worth Rs 95,000.
The food inspector, Rajesh Vishwas, posted in Pakhanjur town last Sunday, had gone for a picnic with his friends to Paralkot reservoir in Pakhanjur. The overflowing water from the dam flows into the Paralkot reservoir.
While clicking a selfie, Vishwas accidentally dropped his phone into the reservoir. Since he is a local resident, some villagers who knew swimming dived in the 10-feet-deep reservoir to look for his phone but could not find it for two days.
Vishwas said, "As they could not find the phone till Tuesday, they asked me if the water could be drained out by a few feet so that they are able to fish it out. I had bought the phone just two months ago and was feeling terrible but still I told them that no matter what, the phone is already damaged so it won’t make any difference. But the villagers, who have a good rapport with me, said they will find it for me."
"So, I called up the sub divisional officer (SDO) who gave an oral permission as it was only a few feet of water. On Tuesday night, I hired a diesel pump for Rs 7,500 and pulled out around three feet of water from the 10-feet-deep reservoir over a period of two days. I do not know how much water it was but you can ask the villagers, the water is used only for bathing by those who come here for picnics and not for irrigation or other purposes. The media has exaggerated the news," added Vishwas.
Kanker collector Dr Priyanka Shukla said, "The official had no authority to drain out the water. Hence he has been suspended." Shukla said in this extreme heat, the water could have been used by the villagers and animals and no official can take such an action on their own without prior permission.
A showcause notice has also been served to the SDO and it was learnt that a letter has been written to the secretary of the Water Resource Department (WRD) to initiate action against the SDO and Vishwas by making them pay for the water wasted by them.