Hungry termites gnaw through fortune

The staff at a bank in India have been blamed for allowing termites to eat their way through banknotes worth 10 million rupees, or $225,000.

The staff at the bank, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, are reported to have been found guilty of “laxity,” according to the BBC.

The State Bank of India says an enquiry into the latest incident has been held.

“The branch management has been found guilty of laxity due to which the notes were damaged by termites in the Fatehpur branch of Barabanki district,” State Bank of India Chief General Manager Abhay Singh told the Press Trust of India.

“Action will be taken against those responsible in the matter,” he said. “As it was the bank’s fault, it will bear the loss caused due to termites… there will be no loss to the public.”

Bank officials discovered that the notes – kept in a strong room – had been damaged by termites earlier this month.

Singh said that directives had now been issued to all branches that stored currency in strong rooms to ensure that the condition of the cash is checked every two months, the BBC reported.

Apparently, the branch where the money was stored was old, seldom properly cleaned and known to be a haven for termites.

“It was earlier brought to the notice of the management that termites were damaging files and furniture. Efforts are on to relocate the bank at some other place,” Singh said.

A similar incident happened in 2008, when termites in Bihar state ate a trader’s savings stored in his bank.

In that incident, the trader lost his life savings after termites infested his bank’s safe deposit boxes and ate the contents. The trader had deposited currency notes and investment papers worth hundreds of thousands of rupees.

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