132 deaths in 5 years in accidents involving fruit picking


Using iron and aluminium poles to pluck fruits from trees can be a risky business, statistics reveal.

As many as 132 people have died of electrocution in the past five years in Kerala after the poles came into accidental contact with overhead power lines, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) said.

In the last one year alone, 41 people suffered electric shock in such accidents. Of this, 21 victims died on the spot. The 20 others sustained burn injuries. This year, till April, seven people have died, while two people were injured.

Since 2017, 132 people have died in 250 accidents, and a majority of these occurred when the poles came into contact with overhead power cables while plucking mangoes or jackfruit, the KSEB said.

According to the KSEB, the ‘villains’ include old Doordarshan antennas refashioned for the purpose and half-inch GI pipes. These days, aluminium rods with adjustable length are also available in agri hardware shops.

The KSEB has urged the public to check for overhead lines before using poles or metal ladders.

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