Food stalls at railway stations will continue to carry the risk of fire as railway authorities say that they do not have complete control over the working of these stalls. Central Railway (CR) authorities say what they can do is educate those working at these stalls and seize gas cylinders.
“The people working at the stalls are not railway staff, so we cannot demand that they follow our rules. The only thing we can do is to educate them about the right way to use electrical equipment at the station,” said V Malegaonkar, chief PRO of Central Railway.
Three days ago, the CR formulated guidelines to prevent fire at station buildings, offices and platforms in the near future, but they fear that food stall owners might ignore these instructions.
CR authorities have framed a set of instructions for stall owners like not using two separate plugs in a single socket, switching off the electrical equipment whenever not in use, keeping a minimum distance of six feet between two electronic goods like oven and refrigerator at platforms and periodical repair of wires and maintenance of machines.
“An accident can occur if a stall owner keeps an oven or electrical stove on for a day or two. This hardly makes it any different from a gas stove as far as safety is concerned,” said a senior CR official on condition of anonymity.
They have now started a dual campaign wherein they will inspect whether stalls have stopped using gas cylinders. Till date they have seized eight cylinders from stalls at Kalyan, Masjid and Ulhasnagar stations.
Sources in CR said the fire at a food stall-cum-coffee vending shop at CST between occurred after the oven was kept on continuously for two days. Similarly, the fire that gutted the disaster cell office at CST was due to a short-circuit as the ACs were on even when the office was empty.