A government official in India was suspended from his role after he reportedly ordered to drain a dam to retrieve his mobile phone.
Rajesh Vishwas ordered the Kherkatta Dam be drained after he dropped his phone into it while taking a selfie, local and national media reported on Friday.
The order was given after divers failed to locate the phone on May 21. Vishwas then bought a pump, and over three days, pumped out over 2.1 million liters of water.
The Samsung-branded phone, reportedly worth $1,200, was too water-damaged to work. The water that was wasted, meanwhile, could have irrigated a vast area of farmland – up to 1,500 acres according to some reports.
Vishwas, who is a food inspector, claimed that the phone contained confidential government information and that he had received verbal confirmation from an undisclosed official to drain the dam located in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
The 32-year-old also defended his position by adding that the water was drained to a nearby canal which would benefit nearby farmers.
All claims were rubbished by the Indian authorities who arrived on the scene several days after the start of the drain, based on a complaint. He was suspended shortly after over misuse of his authority and drew backlash from several local figures.
The act comes even as the state reels from intense heat and a sporadic water supply.
“Today in the scorching heat people are dependent on tankers, there is no arrangement for even drinking water. On the other hand, the officers are pouring about 21 lakh liters of water for their mobiles, in which one and a half thousand acres of land could have been irrigated,” a former chief minister of the state, Raman Singh, said in a social media post.