Hyderabad: Fire accidents are waiting to happen at the State Central Library, popularly known as Asafia Library, at Afzal Gunj with officials quite lackadaisical about adopting fire safety measures.
The library, dating back to the Asaf Jahi period, has a vast collection of books, including rare and invaluable Arabic, Persian and Urdu ones.
The careless attitude of the officials is evident in the very fact that they are little concerned about taking up fire safety precautions. With a lot of combustible material, including thousands of books and wooden furniture, the library is a sitting duck.
In fact, the heritage building has several doors and windows made of wood and of course the ceiling. A dusty fire extinguisher is fixed to a wall on the first floor of building housing the text book section. On the second floor, fire extinguishers are conspicuous by their absence. The situation is no different in the digitalisation section, Urdu section, children’s section and rare books sections.
In fact, the corridors in the library are blocked by chairs and tables that have put up for the students. According to fire safety rules, premises having combustible material should have adequate fire safety precautions, including fire extinguishers, periodically checking of the equipment and frequent fire safety drill, things that are is missing at the library.
When contacted District Fire Officer (South) M. Srinivas Reddy said that so far they had not inspected the library to ensure that fire safety measures are in place. “The library department has not called us for any inspection or sought our help,” he said.
M. Alivelu, chief librarian State Central Library said that in last many years there has been no fire mishap. “But we have asked our higher officials to provide us more equipment,” she said....