A 45-year-old ragpicker in Puducherry sustained serious injuries in his left hand on Sunday after a cardboard box in his possession exploded. Selvam was segregating the waste he had collected to sell it to a paper mart when the incident occurred.
According to local police, Selvam would collect paper and other recyclable waste from the Kottakuppam area where he lived and came to sell in Perumal Nagar every day. On Sunday, he had procured a cardboard box big enough to hold a light bulb and was trying to open it to see its contents when it burst.
"It was a country bomb which exploded and injured his fingers," says an investigating official. "He is still in shock and we are yet to question him about where he brought it from. Once we talk to him, there will be more clarity on the matter," he adds.
Only two months ago, Hyderabad had witnessed a similar incident where a woman ragpicker lost her fingers and injured her legs when she tried to pry open a plastic container collected from a garbage dump. 25-year-old Nirmala had slammed the container against a stone on the road to loosen the lid of the container and it exploded. Police had found traces of solvents in the remnants collected from the spot.