A government official in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh was suspended on Friday for allegedly getting nearly 21 lakh litres of water drained out from a reservoir next to a dam in a bid to find his phone that fell into it.
On May 21, Rajesh Vishwas, 32, a food inspector posted in Pakhanjur town, accidentally dropped his new phone worth nearly ₹95,000 into the Paralkot reservoir while clicking a selfie. Mr. Vishwas and his friends had gone for an outing at the dam.
In search for the phone, Mr. Vishwas said that he got the water pumped out from the reservoir after obtaining a verbal permission from the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of the Water Resource Department. He added that the water was not fit for drinking or agriculture.
“I employed a pump after local divers could not find the phone till Tuesday and told me that the water level needed to be reduced by a few feet for the same,” he said.
Meanwhile Kanker Collector Priyanka Shukla said R.C. Dheewar, the SDO, has been issued show-cause notices by the district administration and the Water Resource Department.
The notice sent by the WRD also contests the claims made by Mr. Vishwas. “It should be noted that during summer, water is needed in all reservoirs for irrigation and drainage. To waste water is a punishable offence,” it reads.
He has been asked to provide a reply on why not the revenue equivalent for the amount of water lost be recovered from his salary.
Mr. Vishwas added that he was worried for his phone that he had bought on finance and hence took the step.
“Water is precious and what Mr. Vishwas has done is devoid of any logic or reasoning. This is blatant misuse of power,” Ms. Shukla said.