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Indian official suspended after draining reservoir to retrieve phone | India

A government official in central India has been suspended after ordering a tank to be drained to retrieve his dropped phone.

Millions of liters of water were pumped over three days from the Kherkatta dam in Chhattisgarh state after Rajesh Vishwas, a food inspector, said his Samsung mobile phone held sensitive government data.

In a statement to local media, Vishwas said he had contacted the sub-division officer for permission to release “some water” into a nearby canal. The drained amount, more than 2 million liters of water, was enough to irrigate 1,500 hectares of agricultural land, according to reports.

“He said it’s no problem if three- [to] Four meters deep water has been drained, which would actually benefit the farmers who would have more water,” Vishwas told local media.

After hiring local divers and using two diesel pumps to partially drain the tank, the phone was recovered a few days later, but it was too watery to use.

According to the World Bank, India is one of the most water-stressed countries, with 18% of the world’s population and only 4% of its water resources.

This March was the warmest in India since records began 122 years ago. Extreme temperatures in India have caused widespread suffering, including death, crop losses, forest fires and power and water outages.

Kanker district officer Priyanka Shukla told The National: “He has been suspended pending investigation. Water is a necessary resource and cannot be wasted like this.”

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