Chennai

Gems on the roadside

C. Balu receives a certificate and (right) R. Suresh with the resident. Photos: special arrangement  

On the morning of January 15, Mahidhar Krrishna, a resident of Raja Street in T. Nagar, discarded a few carton boxes, handing them over to the conservancy worker for the area, R. Suresh.

Hardly 20 minutes had elapsed when Suresh was back at Mahidhar’s door, holding one carton box with two silver tumblers in it.

Mahidhar was touched by Suresh’s honesty.

“While segregating the waste, I noticed these cardboard boxes were filled with shredded papers. While clearing it, I found these tumblers which I first took for stainless-steel tumblers. When a woman coworker identified them as silver tumblers, I wasted no time in returning the tumblers, for fear that I would be viewed as a suspect,” says 32-year-old Suresh, who collects waste at Ward 117 in Zone 9, working with Urbaser Summet, the company appointed by Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to manage waste in certain sections of the city.

A fortnight ago, C. Balu, working for Urbaser Summet in Ward 176 of Zone 13, which includes Parameshwari Nagar First Cross Street in Adyar, had gone to Besant Nagar to carry out his work, when a resident of Parameshwari Nagar First Cross Street came looking for him.

She asked him if he had seen any gold chain in the waste collected from their home. Balu learnt that she was bereaved of her father recently. In a memorial event for the dear departed, a garland was placed around his portrait, as also a gold chain.

While removing the garland and handing it over to the conservancy worker, an elderly relative had failed to notice that the chain was stuck to the garland. Putting his regular work on hold, Balu rummaged through a waste container near the MTC depot in Besant Nagar.

“When I had jumped into the container and was searching through its contents, a passer-by dumped waste into it unaware of my presence. Due to the effort, I was hopelessly behind my waste-collection schedule, and I informed my supervisor about the cause of the delay. When I found the chain, easily weighing three sovereigns, and handed it over to the lady, she was overcome with tears of joy. As a token of gratitude, she offered ₹100. Our company’s rules forbid us from accepting any gifts, but she urged me to be accept it,” says 49-year-old Balu.

Urbaser Summet honoured Balu for his honesty with a certificate of appreciation and an award of ₹5,000, in the presence of top officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation and Urbaser Summet. “We are proud to have such workers with integrity. Soon we will be honouring, R. Suresh of Ward 117 too,” says Hari Balaji, V.R., Head, Information Education and Communication, Urbaser Summet.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 1:31:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/gems-on-the-roadside/article33629204.ece

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