Tipsy designer drops 15 tolas of gold, honest sweeper returns it | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Tipsy designer drops 15 tolas of gold, honest sweeper returns it

May 18, 2024 09:19 AM IST

Sunil Kumbhar, a sweeper, was cleaning the roads within his area at Grant Road when he saw the bag on the road near Kennedy Bridge

Last Sunday morning, like any usual day, Sunil Kumbhar, a sweeper, was cleaning the roads within his area at Grant Road. At around 7am, as he was sweeping away the dust and grime on Maharishi Karve Road, he saw a bag on the road near Kennedy Bridge. He picked up the bag to put it in the bin but felt two pieces of metal inside. When he peered in, he saw the unmistakable yellow gleam of gold. There was a gold biscuit and a gold stick in the bag. The 15 tolas, 175 grams, of gold will fetch at least 13 lakh in the market.

BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani feted Kumbhar (left) and his supervisor Balaram Jadhav. HT Photo
BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani feted Kumbhar (left) and his supervisor Balaram Jadhav. HT Photo

Kumbhar looked around to see if the owner of the gold was around and or was coming back to look for his missing treasure. But no one was there. The gold belonged to a tipsy jewellery designer who had dropped the bag on the road, the police said later.

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Meanwhile, Kumbhar told his supervisor, Balaram Jadhav. “Kumbhar is an honest man,” says Balaram Jadhav, his supervisor. “He came and handed over the gold to me.” The two dutifully marched to the nearby DB Marg police station on Grant Road and handed over the gold to constable Deepak Dawre.

Jadhav spoke of Kumbhar with respect. “I was transferred here around five months ago and since then I’ve worked with him. He’s a good man,” he said. “He lives in a slum house in Saat Rasta with his sick mother, wife and children. He’s been a permanent sanitation worker with the BMC since 2012.”

Jadhav and Kumbhar, however, shared a grouse against the BMC. Though permanent sanitation workers – Kumbhar since 1991 – neither has been given quarters to stay in despite the rules mandating it. “I pay around 22,000 and stay in Pratiksha Nagar, Sion. It feels good to be recognized for our good actions but we should get our quarters.”

On Friday, the BMC municipal commissioner Bhushan Gagrani praised and commended Kumbhar for his conscientiousness and honesty. He presented the two with a bouquet of flowers and a shawl, along with 2,000 cash and tickets for them and their families to see the play Astitva, that portrays the life of sanitation workers.

Regarding the owner of the gold, Vinayak Ghorpade, senior police inspector of D B Marg police station, said, “A jewellery designer approached us complaining that he had lost his gold. We verified the claim with the help of CCTV footage. The description given by the designer matched with that of the gold Kumbhar found. The jeweller was drunk when he lost the bag containing the gold.” He added that they have handed over the gold to the designer.

Commenting on the BMC’s response to the sanitation worker, Shashank Rao, who heads The Municipal Union, said, “Such honesty and integrity is still alive in people, no matter how much they earn. It is good BMC has appreciated it.”

Dadarao Patekar from the Kachra Vahatuk Shramik Sangh (KVSS), however, had harsher words to say. “These authorities are the type to wash the hands and feet of sanitation workers, but do not give them what’s due to them as per norms,” he said.

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