An old building, said to be at least 80 years old, housing the City Light Hotel, on RP Road in Secunderabad collapsed early Monday killing 13 and injuring more than 24, two of them critically.
The Mahankali Police booked a case against its owner Syed Hassan Boluki under Section 304 (A) for negligence. His eldest son Syed Mustafa Boluki (35) was among the dead and his relative Ali Raza is missing. Upon learning of his son’s death, Boluki reportedly fell unconscious and was shifted to the Gandhi Hospital where his condition is said to be serious.
Rescue operations went on till late in the night as many more people are suspected to be trapped inside the debris of the three-floored building. According to eye-witnesses, a big chunk of the structure, from the second floor onwards, came crashing down between 6.30 a.m. and 6.40 a.m. Over 40 people were inside the building at the time. The owner had reportedly brought about 40 workers from Orissa and Maharashtra for the preparation of Haleem which is sold in huge quantities during Ramzan.
Five GHMC workers, who were in a corporation truck parked right in front of the building, were rescued. Two other trucks were also parked at the same place. A driver of one of them died in the incident. Police officials rushed to the spot soon after the building crashed. Fire department personnel too followed suit and were at the site with fire engines by 7.15 a.m. But sensing the magnitude of the tragedy, the Rapid Action Force and the Central Industrial Security Force were deployed for rescue operations.
With the help of cranes and other machinery, the personnel extricated those stuck in the debris, and shifted them to the Gandhi Hospital. Ranigunj and surrounding areas remained shut and the police cordoned off all roads leading to the hotel. According to Mohd Rafi, supervisor of the 108 ambulance service, more than 35 people, including the dead, were taken to the Gandhi Hospital by 5.30 p.m. Ten ambulances were used in the rescue operations. The CISF personnel also used mics to communicate with those stuck inside the rubble.
“We will know the exact number of the injured and the dead only after everything is cleared,” said R Jaya Lakshmi, DCP, North Zone. Friends of Boluki, who visited the place, said the owner had made some structural changes from within which weakened the building. “Moreover, he stored all bricks on the first floor this time, instead of the ground floor, because of which this happened,” one of them opined. Kishore, who runs a business opposite the hotel, said hotel workers had sensed that something was wrong on Sunday night itself when they put up banners about the sale of Haleem.