Hyderabad: Twelve people were killed and 17 injured Monday when a hotel known for its Iranian tea and snacks collapsed in Secunderabad, police said.
The two-storey building of City Light Hotel on Rashtrapati Road in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, collapsed around 6.30 a.m. Monday.
Police, fire fighting personnel and rescue workers managed to evacuate 22 people from the rubble and shifted 15 of them to government-run Gandhi Hospital. The condition of some of the injured is stated to be critical.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma said Monday afternoon that one more person is believed to be still trapped under the debris and the efforts are on to rescue him.
Many auto-rickshaw drivers and daily wage workers were at the famous joint to have their early morning Iranian tea and snacks when the structure came down.
Teams of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), fire fighting personnel, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Hyderabad Metro Rail helped clear the debris.
The rescue teams deployed heavy cranes to clear the rubble. GHMC commissioner Krishna Babu supervised the rescue operation.
One of the rescued hotel workers said there were 30 workers in the building at the time of the accident. The dead include four hotel employees and two people hailing from Odisha.
Locals alleged that the negligence by the municipal authorities led to the incident. Krishna Babu, however, said it was not a dilapidated structure and was also not among 57 buildings in Secunderabad which were issued demolition notices.
"The buildings looked stable. The construction of a 'bhatti' for haleem (beef stew) on top of the building may have weakened the structure but the exact reason will be known only after a probe," he said.
The hotel owner was reportedly building the 'bhatti' or kiln for cooking haleem, a popular dish during Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on the top terrace of the hotel.
The hotel owner was injured and his condition is stated to be critical while his son died.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who visited the site, ordered a probe. He later held a meeting with top officials and directed them to take steps to identify and demolish all dilapidated buildings in the city.
The government has announced Rs.1.5 lakh ex-gratia each to the families of those killed. While Rs.50,000 will be paid by the government under 'Apadhbandu' scheme, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) will provide Rs.1 lakh.
The municipal commissioner said a case would be filed against the hotel owner.
Nearly six-decade-old City Light Hotel was a popular landmark in Secunderabad. Located on the busy Rashtrapati Road, it was famous for its Iranian tea, snacks, biryani and other lip-smacking dishes.
The crash of the building threw traffic out of gear in the busy commercial area. The police diverted the traffic at several points, leading to long jams.
Several ministers, Leader of Opposition inthe state assembly N. Chandrababu Naidu and leaders of various political parties visited the site and called on the injured.