The food inspector emptied millions of litres of water before he found his broken device and lost his job.
An Indian government official has been suspended for ordering the drainage of a reservoir so he could retrieve his phone, which he dropped while taking a selfie. By the time the phone was retrieved, the man had drained enough water to irrigate 600 hectares of farmland.
Rajesh Vishwas was suspended on Friday after his superiors concluded that he had no authority to drain the reservoir, India’s NDTV broadcaster reported.
Vishwas was bathing at the Kherkatta Dam in the state of Chhattisgarh on Sunday when he fumbled his Samsung Galaxy S23 while attempting to snap a selfie. The phone plunged into the dam’s four-meter-deep reservoir, and Vishwas quickly rounded up some locals to dive in and attempt to pull it out.
When this endeavor failed, the 32-year-old food inspector hired two diesel pumps and emptied 2.1 million liters of water from the man-made lake over the course of three days, stopping only when he was reported to his employers.
By the time the pumps were shut off, the water level in the reservoir had been reduced by almost half, and Vishwas was able to fish out his device. Unfortunately, it was waterlogged and unusable by that stage.
Vishwas protested against his suspension, arguing that the local water resources department had given him permission to drain the pond. However, a department official told local media that Vishwas was allowed to drain less than two meters of water, but had overshot this mark.
“He has been suspended until an inquiry. Water is an essential resource and it cannot be wasted like this,” local official Priyanka Shukla told The National newspaper.