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India official drains entire dam in selfie saga

Compiled by staff writer

A government official in India has been suspended after he made a shocking decision to drain an entire reservoir in a desperate attempt to retrieve his lost phone.

Rajesh Vishwas, a food inspector, caused a major uproar when he ordered the pumping out of millions of litres of water from the Kherkatta Dam in Chhattisgarh.

The extraordinary saga began when Vishwas accidentally dropped his prized Samsung phone, valued at approximately $1,200 (R30,000), into the dam while capturing a selfie.

Despite efforts by local divers to locate the device, it seemed lost beneath the depths.

Determined to recover the phone, Vishwas hired a diesel pump and claimed to have obtained verbal permission to drain “some water into a nearby canal.”

He argued that retrieving the phone was essential as it supposedly contained sensitive government data.

Over the course of three days, the pump tirelessly emptied an astonishing two million litres of water from the dam. This amount of water could have irrigated an expansive area of 6 square kilometres of farmland.

However, Vishwas’s audacious mission came to a halt when a water resource department official intervened after receiving a complaint.

The consequences for Vishwas were swift and severe. He has been suspended pending an inquiry, with Priyanka Shukla, a district official from Kanker, emphasising that water is a valuable resource that cannot be wasted so recklessly. Vishwas defended his actions, asserting that the water he drained was from the dam’s overflow section and was unfit for any practical use.

Nevertheless, politicians have condemned Vishwas’s actions, with the national vice-president of the opposition BJP party expressing outrage.

He criticised the official for draining a staggering 41 lakh litres of water, which could have been utilised for irrigation purposes across 1,500 acres of land, at a time when people are grappling with water shortages and relying on tankers for their basic water needs.

Pictured above: The dam being filled up