Who would have thought that the kitchen was the most unsafe place in our house? According to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), there were 3535 deaths related to the LPG cylinder in the year 2014 and since then the number has been on the rise. Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh were the states that accounted for the most number of deaths. LPG explosions happen due to varied reasons, many of them are related to negligence, that of the consumers, the companies, the agencies and the servicemen. Faulty regulators, wear of the safety valves and lack of awareness regarding LPG cylinder use, result in explosions that are catastrophic, 80% of the LPG blast victims are women: homemakers who pay the cost for the negligence of others. Many a times due to black marketing of cylinders, they are illegally filled with inaccurate pressure and this too adds to the number of deaths.
The LPG cylinder market in India is unruly and unregulated, people often pay extra sums to the deliverymen to get early access to cylinders, be it for regular use, functions or occasions. Many committees were also formed to delve into the issues of cylinder blasts but came to no concrete conclusions and hence no headways were made in ensuring safety regarding the increasing LPG blasts. Activists have also suggested that some of these blasts weren’t due to the faulty cylinders but because of family issues pertaining to dowry, where these blasts were intentionally triggered and were made to look like accidents.
On the safety front too, people are actually quite unaware of the safety checks that go into making a cylinder safety-proof. Often regulators and spare valves that don’t have an ISI mark are used and due to the lack of awareness or callous approach of people, ensuring that these faulty cylinders find their way into our kitchens. Every commercial, as well as domestic LPG cylinders, have an alphanumeric safety code that states as to when the cylinder needs a safety check. This code is divided into 4 alphabets denoting the time period of 3 months in a year. The numbers after these letters denote the year. For example, a code denoting C-18 means that the cylinder has to be checked in the month of September 2018.
LPG Cylinders are our essential and daily need but time and time again they are proving to be a fatal liability. It is high time innovation in this sector comes to the fore to ensure that every kitchen and in turn every home is safe and it wouldn’t be too much to ask for. Would it?