An Indian official drained a reservoir to retrieve a phone he'd dropped in it.

Originally published at: An Indian official drained a reservoir to retrieve a phone he'd dropped in it. | Boing Boing


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

It sure was awfully polite of people not to ask any probing questions about the presence of sensitive data on a device that apparently wasn’t sufficiently well secured to make recovery optional.


How many bushels of rice did he misappropriate trying to dry it out?


An example of how much people value their phones vs. how little they value water. It’s not like news of drought and water shortages are in the news every day, right? :roll_eyes: The point about important data and lack of backup @fuzzyfungus raised makes me wonder what long-term consequences this official will face for both offenses.


Who would pump days of water out of a reservoir in order to pick up a phone? Is there some other story here? I realize people are on the whole dumb, but still.

His boss said it was ok, and the water was unused/useless… I’m expecting another headline where a bunch of misconduct is found in the office and it was obviously this guys fault, not his boss’.


Apparently it had sensitive government data on it, which could be recovered by bad actors, even if the phone no longer works. That said, see what @fuzzyfungus said for why this is still very dumb.


Are there no magnets (onna string) in India? (“is there no balm in gilead?”)


Or divers? If the phone was so important, hiring a diver to go get it would have been a lot cheaper and easier. He knew where it was, the visibility would be good and it wasn’t very deep.


Another story (or maybe this one - don’t have a nytimes account) said that they had tried divers first.

I’m wondering how a food inspector has the authority to tell the people in charge of the reservoir to drain it. Did nobody think to step up and say “Dude, let it go, it’s gone.”


Ah okay, good to know. Thanks for that context!

Since it was a government phone with apparently sensitive data on it, I suppose it’s possible they had some legal duty to retrieve it. I have no idea what the Indian laws around that would be.


The BBC version makes it sound like the state of the permission was not all it might have been. He says that he had verbal permission from someone, who noted that draining the reservoir would benefit those farmers that directly received the water; but the operation got shut down when the water resource department took note. Unclear whether the existence of the permission is somewhat overstated, the permission was real but for something represented as being a much smaller exercise, the permission was real but from someone not actually authorized to authorize; or the permission was one of those that has an implied ‘unless doing whatever it is draws flak, in which case it’s your problem’ clause.

After local divers failed to find it, he paid for a diesel pump to be brought in, Mr Vishwas said in a video statement quoted in Indian media.

He said he had verbal permission from an official to drain “some water into a nearby canal”, adding that the official said it “would in fact benefit the farmers who would have more water”.

His mission was stopped when another official, from the water resource department, arrived following a complaint.

In any event the existence and tone of the coverage suggest that he has either run out of friends or that his friends are being substantially outpaced by his opponents at this point: You don’t get “dropped the device while taking a selfie”, a note that it was a Samsung priced around $1,200(a sum simultaneously large enough to probably play really well in the state that currently ranks 25th in India for GDP per capita; while small enough to make deploying divers and pumps and draining millions of liters of irrigation water look ridiculous), and the snide note that it had been destroyed by water damaged by the time it was recovered; if the story is still being emitted in carefully massaged lumps by someone trying to make it go away.


Bharatiya Janata vs Congress?



nytimes reports.

The official, Rajesh Vishwas, 32, was picnicking with friends in central India on May 21 when he dropped his Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra into the Paralkot reservoir in Chhattisgarh State, where he lives. The $1,200 device is a new model, and Mr. Vishwas, a government food inspector, apparently decided that he had to have it back and claimed that it had official departmental data, according to NDTV, the Indian television station.

The phone is rated as IP68 (1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes).

Probably worth more to him than the cost of renting the pump, hiring divers, and the value of the water. Probably not worth the political hay.


My wife lost both her wedding rings while swimming off a family lake dock in 3-6 feet of water. We spent the day sifting for those rings through the loose sand underneath the water. She found her diamond engagement ring herself with her hands and feet. I rented a metal detector and eventually found the marriage ring that same day, but I accidentally ruined the machine in the process. Ended up costing me the same as the insurance deductible on the ring.
My point is, there were a lot of other options for this guy to recover a phone that any reasonable person would have considered “lost”. He didn’t have to be a douche, but he wanted to be one.


I would imagine a large uncovered reservoir would collect a lot of bird shit fairly quickly. It’s kinda frightening that they don’t further treat the water before shipping it off to the general population. It’s a good thing they’re replacing them with underground ones eventually.

Until then I guess bottled water is the way to go in Portland.

Now That the Mount Tabor Reservoirs No Longer Hold Our Drinking Water, Can We Pee And/Or Swim in Them?

Lol, I hadn’t noticed the date in the article. Interesting to note that Time was reporting on a three year old event even then.

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