The government has fined 53,092 rupees (£520) an Indian official who drained a reservoir to retrieve a mobile phone he dropped while taking a selfie.
Rajesh Vishwas, a food inspector, dropped his new £1,000 phone in the Baralkot reservoir in Chhattisgarh state while taking a selfie while outing and swimming with friends.
The locals spent two days trying to dive in and retrieve the phone from the water, but their efforts were in vain. So the Vishwas hired a diesel pump and emptied the tank of millions of liters of water.
Vishwas alleged that his phone contained sensitive government information, which was why it needed to be retrieved, and claimed that he was given “verbal permission” to pump water into a nearby canal by the Department of Water Resources.
The Department of Water Resources later stated that it had allowed a few feet of drain but “not that much”.
Although the Vishwas eventually succeeded in finding the phone, his efforts made local headlines and then gradually went viral. He was accused of abusing his position and sparked outrage over the scale of wasted water, a scarce and valuable resource in India during the hot summer months that farmers used locally from the reservoir to irrigate their fields.
His actions landed him in trouble with the government officials. Vishwas claimed that they had been “exaggeratedly exaggerated”, but he was suspended from his job and placed under investigation by the state authorities.
This week he was fined a total of 53,092 rupees by the state Irrigation Department, which accused him of wasting 4.1 million liters of water. His actions were called illegal and he was asked to pay a fine of 10,000 rupees plus an additional 43,092 rupees to cover the cost of wasted water.
Meanwhile, after three days at the bottom of the tank, Vishwas’ phone is proven to be irreparably broken.
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