Having finished his Class 10 exams, Vikram Shinde wanted to earn some money during his summer vacations. So the 16-year-old took up a job at the Premier Explosives Ltd's manufacturing unit in Sinnar near Nashik.
Vikram was one among the 21 victims the revised death toll up from 16 in the blast which flattened the industrial facility in Sinnar, some 201 km from Mumbai on Saturday.
"We couldn't even see his body. The police just gave us a piece of flesh to complete his cremation," said his father Sanjay.
The police said 38 people were present in the factory at the time of the explosion. Five injured workers have been admitted to various hospitals.
Most victims are teenagers from nearby villages and migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Rajasthan. "He said it was an easy job as all that he had to do was pack stuff that was produced. If we had known they were packing explosives, we would have never allowed him to work there," said Sanjay.
Among the 70-odd workers employed in the factory, which is a five-month old unit of the Secunderabad-based Premier Explosives Ltd, many are teenagers from the nearby villages of Harsule and Sonambi. They were paid Rs 80 per day.
Two other teens, Ramesh Jadhav and Uttam Jadhav, also died. "None of us knew that explosives were manufactured here," said Kishore Jadhav, a resident of Harsule.
Villagers heckled local MLA Manikrao Kokate for allowing the factory to come up.
"After the company shut its operations in AP, 37 of us were forced to relocate to Nashik. My seven friends died in the blast. I don't know how to face their families," said Venkatramiah (34).
About 20 workers are from Rajasthan. Meanwhile, a preliminary report on the cause of the blast will be submitted by the chief controller of Explosives and Industrial Safety Department.
A case of accidental death has been registered by the Sinnar police, but no arrests have been made so far.
"Since the bodies cannot be recovered, we are keen that relief be provided to the kin,” said Nasik collector S Chockalingam.
The district’s guardian minister Chaggan Bhujbal has announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the kin of the deceased a sum unlikely to bring any relief to Vikram’s grandfather Dnyaneshwar.
"The desire to earn money during his summer vacations cost him his life," he wailed.