CHENNAI: Platform One of Chennai Central Station, where thousands of passengers arrive on a daily basis, also houses a tiny windowless storage room where at least 10-15 filled LPG cylinders are stored — a clear fire safety hazard, according to regulations. The Gas Cylinders Rules 2004 says that ‘Cylinders shall be stored in a cool, dry, well ventilated place under cover.’ “In public places, more than six cylinders (rules say) cannot be stored together as it is an explosive hazard,” an oil company official said.
The storage room at Chennai Central is used to stock LPG cylinders which are used for cooking food in the Jan Aahars, a Railway-run canteen inside Central Station. A railway staffer opens the locked door of the room at around 2 pm everyday to take a filled cylinder for use in the canteen. The room also has electricity connection, which is a potential ignition source in case there is LPG leakage in the room, fire safety experts whom City Express spoke to, said. An official from the Commercial Department of Chennai Division of Southern Railway, who was aware of the storage arrangement, added that they weren’t aware of fire safety legislations. But an inspection would be carried out after Ce informed them about the violation of rules, they said. Officials of Tamil Nadu Fire Safety Department said that the audit, if any, would be done by the Southern Railways. An official from the Safety Department of Railways said, “We are not sure about fire safety audits at railway stations, but we do it for coaches,” he said. The official couldn’t comment if flame-proof construction material in the electrical fittings was used in that room.