A Toto driver was killed when his moving vehicle exploded near Bagbari under Englishbazar police station on Wednesday afternoon in a first mishap of its kind in north Bengal.
Over 2,500 Totos — as battery-operated rickshaws are commonly called — run in Malda town, making it one of the most sought-after modes of public transport.
The identity of the deceased man could not be known till late evening as the body exploded into pieces.
Police after a preliminary probe found short-circuit in the vehicle’s batteries. The vehicle, which had no passenger, was moving towards Englishbazar. The prominent thoroughfare was deserted in the afternoon because of the Covid-19 threat, but the deafening sound of the blast created panic in the locality.
A policeman said grocery items could be seen at the site of the blast. “The driver was possibly on his way home after buying groceries,” he said.
A professor of the University of Gour Banga in Malda said with so many Totos running in the town, it was imperative for the district administration to check the government certification of every such vehicle before allowing it to hit the streets for the sake of safety.