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Indian Official Penalized for Emptying Tank in Search of Phone


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An Indian official in the central state of Chhattisgarh has been fined 53,092 Indian rupees ($640) for allegedly completely draining the dam to retrieve his mobile phone.

The official, identified as food inspector Rajesh Vishwas, reportedly threw his phone into the dam while taking a selfie.

Vishwas claimed that the phone contained sensitive government data and should be retrieved immediately.

He then allegedly roped off the villagers and got diesel pumps to empty the dam until the phone was finally picked up.

However, his actions were met with widespread criticism. Many accused him of abusing his position and wasting precious water resources.

On Tuesday, the Chhattisgarh Water Resources Department said in a letter that Vishwa drained water from a waste cistern without obtaining permission from the relevant authority after his mobile phone fell into it and fined him.

The Indian official was suspended after the incident. The department said the act was illegal under the Chhattisgarh Irrigation Act.

Vishwa reportedly lost about 4,104 cubic meters (4.1 million liters) of water. He was asked to pay 43,004 rupees at the rate of 10.50 rupees per cubic metre, according to the letter. Another penalty of 10,000 rupees was for draining water without permission. Payment must be made within 10 days.

Priyanka Shukla, the top Kanker district official, ordered an investigation after the incident.

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