RAIPUR: ‘Sagar Manthan’, or churning of the ocean, was said to have yielded 14 gems and more. Chhattisgarh bureaucrat Rajesh Vishwas churned a dam for a cellphone — and got damned.
The food inspector emptied the entire Paralkot reservoir in Kanker district to retrieve his “expensive” mobile phone that had slipped from his hand while taking a selfie on a weekend outing with friends.
The bizarre act led to over 41,000 cusecs (12 lakh litres) of water being drained out over three days when it could have been “used to irrigate 1,500 acres of farmland” in the parched state.
Vishwas got his mobile back but earned a suspension from DM Priyanka Shukla for “misusing his po-sition by draining lakhs of litres of water in summer’s heat to retrieve his phone”.
Inquiries have also begun against some officials who allowed the draining. The episode unfolded May 21 but came to light Thursday when photos and videos went viral.
In videos and photos that surfaced on Thursday from the incident in Kanker district, Chhattisgarh food inspector Rajesh Vishwas can be seen sitting under an umbrella while divers scoured the reservoir and two powerful pumps hummed to empty the dam and find his phone.
Vishwas claimed he was told the water “was not being used”. “I spoke to SDO of the irrigation department and he said as the water wasn’t used by farmers, I could empty it by 3 feet. I got the water drained into a canal and made it usable. I haven’t done anything outside my authority,” Vishwas is heard saying in one of the videos. Vishwas had called locals and divers to find his phone and decided to plumb such astounding depths after their efforts failed.
“Vishwas has been suspended with immediate effect. He pumped out water without seeking formal permission. This is unacceptable,” stated the suspension order.
The dam duel opened the floodgates of criticism from opposition BJP.
Watch Bizarre: Officer drains out 41 lakh litres of water from reservoir to find his phone, suspended

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