What will happen if you drop thousands of rupees in Indian currency on the road? Usually, the money will be gone even before you can say the amount you lost.
But, in these times of Covid-19 crisis, the currency notes are only likely to trigger a scare about the spread of the infection and people are unlikely to touch it.
That’s exactly what happened in Bihar where the fear of Covid -19 saved Rs 20,500 of one Gajendra Shah, an auto-driver in Kopa village of Saharsa district.
Because of the lockdown, Shah had left his home early, about 5.30 am on Saturday with Rs 25,000 to purchase a tin-shed from the district’s Mahua Bazaar. But just before reaching his destination, Gejandra, 29, realized to his horror that Rs 20,500 money had gone missing from his pocket.
“I realised that the cash must have fallen when I took out chewing tobacco from my pocket. Though I did not know where exactly it happened, I got down from my auto and walked back a few kilometres searching for my money,” he said.
But it was in vain.
Crestfallen over having lost two months worth of earnings, Gejandra returned to his house hours later.
Soon, neighbours informed him that some photos were circulating on Facebook about how the Udakishnganj Police had recovered some cash that was “laced with coronavirus.
As people were unwilling to touch it fearing Covid-19, they informed the police, who recovered the full amount.
Shashi Bhushan Singh, inspector-cum- station house officer of the Udakishunganj police station, which incidentally falls in Madhepura district, told India Today on Tuesday that he received a few calls around 7.30 am. Some locals called him to inform about the money lying on the road.
The police officer admitted that almost everyone who called him about the currency notes spoke about a “deeper conspiracy to spread coronavirus through banknotes.”
“As they did not wish to touch it, I told them to take a photo and WhatsApp it to me, which they did. Soon, the police reached the spot and picked the money from the road with due caution. We counted it and made an entry of it in our records,” he added.
By 10 am, Gajendra too reached the Udakishunganj police station with witnesses to support his claim for the money.
“The police verified his claim and asked the witnesses to submit a written undertaking. The money was handed over to Gajendra once we were satisfied with his claim,” said inspector Singh.
Gajendra admits that like many others he too has seen a Tiktok video in which a man is seen licking currency notes and wiping his nose with it while claiming the novel coronavirus was a “divine punishment” without remedy.
“What can I say about others, I too would not have touched any money found abandoned on the road,” he said.
While Gajendra Shah is pleased with the police who helped him and is thinking of kicking his chewing tobacco habit, in hindsight, he is no less thankful for the Covid-19 scare, which saved his hard-earned money.