Raipur, May 26, 2023: How precious can a cellphone be? Millions of gallons of water, meant for parched fields, was pumped out of a dam in Chhattisgarh after a government official dropped his mobile in it. And it went on for three days.
On Sunday, Rajesh Vishwas, food inspector of Koyalibeda block, visited the Kherkatta Paralkot reservoir to enjoy his day off. He somehow managed to drop his Samsung S23 phone worth Rs 96,000 into the 15-foot-deep water.
A panicked Vishwas reached out to the Irrigation Department and discussed ways to retrieve his submerged phone. Eventually, a 30-horsepower pump was deployed to drain the reservoir’s water, resulting in the discharge of the stored water used for irrigation purposes.
Twenty-one lakh litres of water was drained out in a day. And the ’mission mobile khojo’ went on for full three days.
The phone was recovered after three days, after the discharge of 41,104 cubic metres of water. The precious water would have been used for irrigating around 1,500 acres of land.
After its three-day soak, however, Vishwas’s phone was no longer in working condition. But wasn’t that a foregone conclusion? Phones aren’t supposed to survive being submerged underwater for a prolonged duration.
The water level in the dam by then had dropped by 10 feet.
In his defence, Rajesh Vishwas said the water pumped out was "wastewater unfit for irrigation". He went on to say that an effort for recovery was made as the lost phone was his personal mobile with important contacts in it.
“A verbal permission was given by the Kanker irrigation department SDO to empty 3-4 feet of water. It was part of the dam where waste water was kept which was unfit for irrigation. The water was emptied with a diesel pump and the action cost of Rs 7,000-8,000. No farmer was affected by my action,” said Vishwas.
As the incident made headlines, Vishwas was suspended on Friday.
According to Ram Lal Dhivar, the Deputy Officer of the Water Resources Department, verbal permission had been granted to drain the water up to a depth of five feet. However, the water level has been reduced by more than 10 feet thus far.
Authorities are evaluating the impact on irrigation and considering measures to compensate for the lost water. This comes at a time when north and central India are baking in the scorching summer sun and a shortage of irrigation water is commonplace.
Courtesy: India Today