Waste collector returns lost gold ornament

ST CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, 18 May 2019

Realising that the ornament was of gold and that the owner would be frantically searching for it, Gaikwad rushed to the resident and gave the mangal sutra back. 

PUNE: Sometimes, it is just a simple act of kindness or honesty, which is required to make us realise that the world indeed is a better place. Setting an example for others to follow, Swati Gaikwad, a waste picker from Solid Waste Collection and Handling (SWaCH), had returned a gold Mangal Sutra, which she found while collecting waste, to its owner who resides in Sadashiv Peth.

Realising that the ornament was of gold and that the owner would be frantically searching for it, Gaikwad rushed to the resident and gave the mangal sutra back. 

The owner of the mangal sutra, who doesn’t want to be identified, was extremely thankful to have it back. “I had turned the house upside down looking for it as it’s not just a piece of jewellery. Apart from the value of the three tolas of gold, it also holds great sentimental and emotional value to us. I had lost hope of finding it, as I assumed it was lost forever. Gold is as good as money and I had no hopes that it would be returned. It was a wonderful moment when I got it back.”

The owner has also offered a reward of Rs 4,000 for Gaikwad’s daughter’s computer classes.

Gaikwad, who is working at Durga society in Sadashiv Peth since past few years, is known to be efficient at her work. She collects waste every day from around 16 households including Deputy Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation Madhav Jagatap.

Moved by the honesty and sincerity of Gaikwad, Jagtap has also offered to help with Gaikwad’s daughter’s education who gave her Std X exams.

The organisation informed that this was not the first time that waste pickers have returned lost property to the rightful owners. From laptops to phones, to cash to gold, several items have made their way into the trash, even during Ganesh festivals and all of it has been returned to the owners, much to their delight. 

Gaikwad said, “We want only what is rightfully ours. Working hard for our living is not a problem. All we look for is a bit of support in the form of segregated waste and to be treated with the same consideration as you treat other professionals. I am happy to be working in this society where the residents and I have mutual respect and understanding.”

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