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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Kitchen fire lens on LPG rogues

A young homemaker in Adityapur received serious burns when an “unauthorised” cooking gas cylinder caught fire on Thursday morning.

This is the third such incident in the Adityapur-Jamshedpur area in three months.

Rajni Srivastava is under treatment at MGM Medical College and Hospital, while the Seraikela-Kharsawan district administration has promised a crackdown on illegal LPG outlets.

Family sources said the 25-year-old was preparing breakfast at her Adityapur Colony home around 8.30am, when the knob of the 5kg cylinder came loose. The leaking gas triggered a fire that engulfed the entire kitchen, trapping Rajni. Her truck driver husband Ravi Srivastava was away at work, while their two young children were in another room.

Her scream brought neighbours to her rescue, but not before her face was disfigured and she burnt her hands, legs, chest and abdomen. Doctors at MGM said she had sustained 65 per cent burns and was not completely out of danger.

Ravi, who rushed to hospital later, said he had purchased the cylinder from the fish market in Sakchi some two years ago, but had no idea whether it was an unauthorised shop.

“We are a small family and a mini-cylinder was enough for our kitchen needs. As and when necessary, I refilled it from shops either at Kadma or Sakchi market in Jamshedpur, or a place in the RIT police station area. If I knew that such a cylinder was dangerous, we would have never used it,” said the husband.

Sale and refilling of unauthorised cylinders is rampant in both Adityapur and Jamshedpur. In November last year, a 45-year old man sustained grievous burns following LPG leak at his Mango home. In December, a 20-year-old Bagbera girl fell victim to LPG fire in her kitchen.

Uday Kumar, the area manager of IOCL’s LPG division, said the oil major supplied 5kg cylinders through authorised dealers in Jamshedpur, but there were very few domestic customers. “IOCL has only two registered dealers in the city — in Chotagovindpur and Parsudih. However, unauthorised outlets are everywhere,” Kumar said.

Seraikela-Kharsawan deputy commissioner K.N. Jha said there was a team in place to crack down on illegal LPG outlets. “Unscrupulous dealers will be booked under the Essential Commodities Act.”