The Samsung Phone In India That Is Worth Emptying A Whole Dam To Retrieve


A smartphone is a smart device. And thanks to the things people can do with it, smartphones have received a high importance in users' life.

And also work, because in India, someone has given the orders to empty a huge dam, in order to retrieve his phone that fell into it.

To retrieve his Samsung phone, it took the him three days to pump out its millions of liters of water.

And by the time he managed to retrieve his phone, the phone was already too water-logged that it couldn't work anymore.

As for his purpose, he said that the phone contained sensitive government data, and that the only way to save it, was to retrieve it.

Quickly, the official is accused of misusing his position.

The Kherkatta reservoir in Chhattisgarh, India.
The Kherkatta reservoir in Chhattisgarh, India.

It all began when Rajesh Vishwas, a 32-year-old food inspector in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district, had gone on a picnic with his friends at Paralkot Reservoir in Pakhanjur, in the city where he's stationed.

Then, during one moment, Rajesh inadvertently dropped his phone to the body of water while capturing a selfie.

The reservoir the phone fell into, received the overflow of water from the nearby dam, the Kherkatta Dam, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. While the reservoir is only a few meters deep, Rajesh who had asked some local villagers who were good swimmers to help him, couldn't retrieve his phone.

After two days anxiously waiting, the inspector became increasingly worried about his newly purchased Samsung S23 Ultra phone.

Frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to locate his phone, the villagers who saw this, approached Rajesh and pitched the idea of draining the water by only a few meters to make it easier to retrieve the device.

Realizing that the phone was probably damaged and draining the water wouldn’t make any difference, Rajesh initially rejected his suggestion.

However, the villagers, who shared a good relationship with him, insisted on finding a solution.

In the end, Rajesh agreed, and paid for a huge diesel pump to be brought in.

In the process, the draining of the entire reservoir means that approximately 2.1 million liters have to be pumped out to the dam.

This huge amount is reportedly enough to irrigate 600 hectares of farmland.

According to him, he wanted to drain "some water into a nearby canal", adding that it "would in fact benefit the farmers who would have more water".

The Kherkatta reservoir in Chhattisgarh, India.
The Kherkatta reservoir drained so an officials' phone can be retrieved, despite being damaged.

“So, I called the subdivision officer (SDO) who gave an oral clearance since there was only a few feet of water. On Tuesday night, I rented a diesel pump for Rs 7,500 and drew about three feet of water from the 10-foot-deep reservoir over a two-day period. I don’t know how much water it was, but you can ask the villagers, the water is used only for bathing by those who come here for a picnic and not for irrigation or other purposes. The media has exaggerated the news,” added Rajesh Vishwas.

While Rajesh said that he had previously received a verbal permission from an official to drain the reservoir, he was stopped when another official, from the water resource department, arrived following a complaint.

Kanker district collector Priyank Shukla, said that Rajesh did not ask any competent official for permission to drain the water.

Upon receiving a complaint about the incident, collector Priyanka Shukla took swift action, and suspended the inspector from his position.

"Abusing his position, [Vishwas] wasted lakhs of litres of water during the hot season," Shukla said. "This is unacceptable behavior that cannot be tolerated."

At this time, India is one of the most water-stressed countries, because extreme temperatures had led to severe water scarcity, causing crop losses, forest fires and cuts to power.

"He has been suspended until an inquiry. Water is an essential resource and it cannot be wasted like this," the official added, acknowledging the seriousness of the situation.

The Kherkatta reservoir in Chhattisgarh, India.
Rajesh Vishwas in front of the emptied reservoir. He said that his phone contained sensitive governmental data.

It's only after this, that it's clarified, that Ram Lal Dhivar, deputy director of the Water Resources Department, said that the verbal permission had been given to drain the water to a depth of a few meters deep.

However the water level has dropped by more than a few meters, a lot more than what it was intended.

It's also realized that the irrigation department initially refused to comply with Rajesh's request, but they eventually agreed after he threatened to file a complaint against them.

As for Rajesh, he denied misusing his position.

He said that the water he drained was from the overflow section of the dam and "not in usable condition".

But his actions have drawn criticism from politicians, with the state's opposition BJP party's national vice-president tweeting:

"When people are depending upon tankers for water facility in in scorching summers, the officer has drained 41 lakh litres which could have been used for irrigation purpose for 1,500 acres of land."