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How Indian official drained dam to retrieve phone

A government official in India is currently under suspension after ordered that an entire dam is drained so that he could retrieve his phone.

In a news report published by the BBC, the official identified as Rajesh Vishwas on May 21, 2023, is said to have dropped the phone while taking a selfie photo and he immediately ordered a reservoir to drain the water from the dam.

“By the time it was found, the phone was too water-logged to work. Mr Vishwas claimed it contained sensitive government data and needed retrieving, but he has been accused of misusing his position,” the report by BBC read in part.

Mr Vishwas is a food inspector and he dropped the Samsung phone which estimated to cost Sh166,000 into the dam known as Kherkatta Dam, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

It is then that local divers were tasked with searching for the phone but when they failed to do so, he paid for a diesel pump to be brought and help in draining the dam.

Asked why he made such a decision, Mr Vishwas said that he was issued with a verbal permission from an official to drain some water into a nearby canal.

He added that the official said it “would in fact benefit the farmers who would have more water.”

BBC said the pump ran for several days and emptied two million liters of water which can be used to irrigate 600 hectares of farmland.

“His mission was stopped when another official, from the water resource department, arrived following a complaint,” the BBC reported.

Mr Vishwas has denied misusing his position, and said that the water he drained was from the overflow section of the dam and “not in usable condition”.

But his actions have drawn criticism from politicians, with the state’s opposition BJP party’s national vice-president tweeting: “When people are depending upon tankers for water facility in in scorching summers, the officer has drained 41 lakh litres which could have been used for irrigation purpose for 1,500 acres of land.”

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