Chhattisgarh: Official drains 21 lakh litres water from dam to search for cell phone; suspended

Water resources officer gets show cause notice for giving oral permission

Paralkot dam

A food inspector in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh was suspended on Friday after making an audacious move of getting 21 lakh litres of water drained from the Paralkot dam (also known as Kherketta dam) reservoir to search for his mobile phone that fell into the reservoir.

Kanker district collector Priyanka Shukla suspended Pakhanjur food inspector Rajesh Vishwas on Friday upon receiving information in this regard. Also, the Pakhanjur sub-divisional officer (SDO) of water resources department (WRD) was served a show cause notice for allegedly giving oral permission to Vishwas to drain water from the reservoir.

The mobile phone, reportedly costing Rs 1.5 lakh, fell into the reservoir on May 21 when Vishwas was picnicking there with his friends. It was finally found by divers on May 25 after the level of the reservoir was reduced by 6ft pumping water out. The gadget has however stopped working because of being submerged in water for four days, sources said. 

The suspension order of Vishwas issued by the collector mentions, “A report was sought from the sub-divisional officer (revenue), Pakhanjur on May 26. According to the report, food inspector Rajesh Vishwas got 41,104 cubic metres of water pumped out through waste weir of the reservoir without permission to search for the mobile phone.”

The order further said, “The action of the food inspector Rajesh Vishwas to get lakhs of litres of water drained from the reservoir during peak summer season without any permission and by misusing his official post is unbecoming and unacceptable. The action being against the sub-rule (1) of rule (9) of the Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1966, the officer is suspended with immediate effect.”

Later, the district collector also issued a show cause notice to the WRD SDO R.C. Dhiwar, asking him to explain within 24 hours why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. The show cause notice mentioned that in a statement to the media, the food inspector Rajesh Vishwas had claimed that the SDO had given him oral permission to drain out water from the reservoir. “Your action to give permission for draining water from the Paralkot reservoir without seeking permission from senior officials amounts to misconduct according to rule (1)(2)(3) of the Chhattisgarh Civil Services Rules, 1965,” the notice said.

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