A civil servant in India had a dam released because his phone fell down

30. 05. 2023 | Kristýna Bezděková

Millions of litres of water were drained from a dam over three days by an official whose phone fell into the Kherkatta reservoir in Chhattisgarh state, India, while he was taking a selfie. The phone was eventually recovered, but the water had damaged it so badly that it was no longer usable. In addition, the official was suspended after being accused of misuse of power.

“I went to the dam with some friends to take a dip on my day off. My phone slipped into the overflow cisterns,” food inspector Rajesh Vishwas recounted the loss of his Samsung phone, worth around Rs 100,000 (nearly ₹27,000), according to Indian station NDTV. While many in his position would have accepted the embarrassing loss, the official showed unusual determination to get the device back. Claiming that the phone contained sensitive government data, he first summoned a team of divers and then paid for a diesel pump to be brought in. This drained approximately two million litres of water from the dam over the following days. “The locals helped me lower the level by about three metres and I got my phone back,” Vishwas recounted. But the device was already in an unusable state, and in addition, the Water Resources Authority got involved in the matter after receiving several complaints, the British BBC reported.

“It actually benefited the farmers who had more water,” Vishvas defended the dam’s release in a subsequent statement. But his argument did not convince the authorities, and he now faces charges of abuse of power. “He has been suspended from office pending the outcome of the investigation. Water is a precious resource and must not be wasted like this,” Kanker district representative Priyanka Shukla warned, according to The National.

The opposition People’s Party of India (BJP) in the state also criticised the official’s action. “When the official’s mobile fell into the dam, water flowed to irrigate half a thousand acres of fields while animals could not drink for four days and farmers are thirsty for water,” the party’s regional representative Amit Malvija complained on Twitter.

Source, photo: ndtv.com

Author of this article

Kristýna Bezděková

Kristýna is a student of marketing and communication in an undergraduate program. She writes and translates content into the Czech language


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