Dam water phone Paralkot reservoir Chhattisgarh
The SDO has reportedly replied to the district administration that the water did not go to waste, as it is required for irrigation and other purposes during summer | Video grab: Twitter

Chhattisgarh SDO fined Rs 53,000 for allowing dam water drainage over phone: Report

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The senior officer, who allegedly allowed a Chhattisgarh food inspector — now suspended — to have a reservoir drained so that he could recover his expensive smartphone, has reportedly been fined Rs 53,000 for giving the verbal permission. It resulted in 21 lakh litres of water being drained out of the reservoir in peak summer.

The incident took place at Paralkot reservoir in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district. Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of the water resources department, RK Dhivar, reportedly gave the food inspector verbal permission to empty water up to five feet. Now, the district administration has asked Dhivar to pay for the lost water from his pocket, NDTV has reported.

Show-cause notice

On May 26, the superintendent engineer of the project reportedly wrote to Dhivar, asking why the cost of the wasted water should not be recovered from his salary. Dhivar reportedly replied that the water did not go to waste, as it is required for irrigation and other purposes during summer.

In his reply to a show-cause notice, Dhivar also reportedly wrote that he had no idea about the water being drained and when he got to know about it, he got the drainage pump removed from the reservoir. However, the district administration noted that water was drained over four days and the SDO’s “lack of information” indicated a “lack of regular monitoring of reservoirs”.

Dhivar reportedly told local journalists that he had permitted Rajesh Biswas, the food officer, to have water drained up to five feet. But a lot more was drained. Biswas has, however, claimed he got only 3 feet of water drained. That, however, does not add up to the 21 lakh litres of water lost.

Also read: Over 50 per cent of world’s largest lakes losing water: Study

How it happened

Biswas, who is a food officer in Kanker’s Koilibeda block, accidentally dropped his smartphone worth Rs 1 lakh in the Paralkot reservoir of Kherkatta dam while taking a selfie with friends. The water was 15 feet deep and the locals who dived in to find it failed.

According to Biswas, the locals told him that they could find the phone if the water was two-three feet shallower. So, he called SDO Dhivar and requested his permission for draining some water into the nearby canal. Dhivar apparently told him that draining three-four feet of water was not an issue and it would in fact benefit the farmers.

However, Biswas allegedly got two big pumps to run continuously for three days and drained enough water to irrigate 1,500 acres of farmland. Biswas has tried to justify his actions by claiming that his phone contained official data and the water was “unusable”. However, animals often drink this water, and it is also channelled through the canal for use by local farmers.

(With agency inputs)

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