Business Standard

Officer drains 2.1 mn lt water to retrieve iPhone; suspended, asked to pay

In Chhattisgarh's Kanker district, a food inspector, Rajesh Vishwas drained a reservoir over three days to retrieve his iPhone, causing much controversy and uproar among the public

Reservoir levels down to 15%; rain recovery awaited

BS Web Team New Delhi

Listen to This Article

Chattisgarh bureaucrat, Rajesh Vishwas drained out the entire Paralkot reservoir in the Kanker district to retrieve his iPhone.

Vishwas, a food officer in Koilibeda block of Kanker district, is now facing suspension as an aftermath of the incident and may even be asked to pay for the cost of wasted water.

According to a report by NDTV, the superintendent engineer of the Indravati project wrote a letter to sub-divisional officer, RK Dhivar asking why the cost of the wasted water should not be recovered from his salary. The letter, sent on Friday, also highlighted that the water was required for irrigation, it was used by local farmers during the summers.

Vishwas, a food inspector was reportedly visiting the area with friends when he dropped his iPhone while taking a selfie.

Initially, he had tried to retrieve the iPhone with the help of locals, who dove in to search for the phone but were unsuccessful due to the water being almost 15 feet deep.

According to local media on-site, Vishwas claimed that he received verbal permission from the sub-divisional office to drain the reservoir up to five feet. He also claimed that the water was not being used, therefore, drainage through the adjacent canal would not cause a shortage. The water resource department also told journalists present on the site, that five feet of drainage was okayed, but more than that was taken.

Vishwas also claimed that the phone contained official data and documents. The phone, however, no longer functioned after being immersed in the water for three days. Different media reports estimate the cost of the phone to be between Rs 90,000 to Rs 1 lakh, the exact cost of the phone and model are not known.

From May 21 to May 24, an estimated 2.1 million litres of water was pumped out using two big 30 horse hower diesel pumps. The pumps ran non-stop for three days before a senior official from the irrigation department put a stop to it. The water level had already dropped to about six feet by then.

After the whole controversy, where many claimed that the water could have been enough to irrigate 1,500 acres of farmland, Vishwas is up for suspension. Some media reports claim he has already been suspended.

The sub-divisional officer, who allegedly gave oral permission for the drainage, is also up for disciplinary hearing.

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: May 30 2023 | 2:37 PM IST

Explore News