In a bizarre incident, Chhattisgarh government employee allegedly drained out 41 lakh litres from a reservoir in Kanker district to recover his expensive phone. The employee was suspended last weekend for the colossal waste of water. However, the incident came to light on Friday.
According to news agency PTI, Food inspector Rajesh Vishwas, posted in Pakhanjore area of the district, had gone to the Paralkot reservoir for an outing with his friends on May 21 when his mobile phone worth about Rs 1 lakh fell into a waste weir, a channel that carries away surplus water.
In order to retrieve his mobile, Vishwas allegedly roped in villagers and got diesel pumps running continuously for three days to empty 41 lakh litres of water that could irrigate several acres of farmland.
“The locals present there said that the tank is merely 10 feet deep and the phone can be retrieved. Initially they tried to get it out but failed. They told me that if the water could be emptied by 3-4 feet then they could retrieve the phone. So I spoke to the SDO of the irrigation department who said that since the water is not used by the farmers you can empty it. So I, at my own expense, emptied the water by 3 feet with the help of the local people and then the phone was retrieved on Thursday,” Vishwas told PTI.
After the matter came to light, Kanker Collector Priyanka Shukla sought a report in this regard, following which the official was suspended, the news agency reported.
“Vishwas misused his position to look for his mobile phone and without seeking permission from the competent officer evacuated water to the tune of lakhs of litre in this scorching summer season which is unacceptable. For the aforementioned act, he has been placed under suspension with immediate effect,” reads the suspension order.
Sub-divisional officer (SDO) of water resources department, RC Dhivar was also issued a show-cause notice by the collector for giving verbal permission to release water without seeking permission from senior officials, which comes under the category of misconduct.