Indian Official Suspended After Ordering Dam Drainage to Retrieve Lost Smartphone
Food Inspector Rajesh Vishwas was visiting Kherkatta Dam in the Kanker district of Chhattisgarh state when he lost his phone and demanded local divers jump into the reservoir to find it.
When the initial efforts failed, Vishwas then insisted on emptying the reservoir using diesel pumps over the next three days. This wasteful action resulted in the pumping out of more than 2 million liters of water from the reservoir - enough to irrigate at least 1,500 acres (607 hectares) of land during India's dry summer season.
Videos showing Vishwas sitting under a red umbrella as diesel pumps ran to drain water from the reservoir went viral on social media, leading to widespread outrage. Despite claiming that the water was unsuitable for irrigation purposes and asserting that he had received permission from a senior official, Vishwas' attempts to justify his actions did not appease the authorities, who have now suspended him.
India is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, with extreme temperatures leading to severe water scarcity. This scarcity causes crop losses, forest fires, and power supply cuts across the nation. In order to prevent such wastefulness of resources, district official Priyanka Shukla has stated that "he pumped out water without seeking formal permission. This is unacceptable."
Inquiries against the officials who allowed Vishwas' orders have also been initiated by the authorities. Unfortunately for Vishwas, even after retrieving his phone through this expensive endeavor, it failed to start due to being waterlogged.