10 killed as hotel collapses in Secunderabad

Hyderabad, July 8 (IANS) At least 10 people were killed and 15 injured when a hotel collapsed in Secunderabad early Monday, police said.

The two-storey building of City Light Hotel on Rashtrapati Road in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, came down crashing around 6.30 a.m.

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.

Many auto-rickshaw drivers and daily wage workers were at the famous joint to have their Iranian tea and snacks.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who visited the site, ordered a probe. He directed the officials to provide immediate relief to the injured.

Earlier, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma told reporters that six bodies were recovered while 11 injured were taken out from the rubble.

"We suspect another 20 people may be trapped under the debris," he said.

Teams of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), fire fighting personnel, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Hyderabad Metro Rail were clearing the debris to rescue those trapped under it.

The rescue teams have deployed heavy cranes to clear the rubble. GHMC commissioner Krishna Babu supervised the rescue operation.

The official said the teams evacuated 22 people from the rubble. He said the help of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was also sought for the rescue operation.

One of the rescued hotel workers said there were 30 workers in the building at the time of the incident. The dead include four hotel employees and two people hailing from Odisha.

Locals alleged that the negligence by the municipal authorities led to the crash. The GHMC commissioner, however, said it was not a dilapidated structure and was also not among 57 buildings in Secunderabad which were issued demolition notices.

"The building looked stable. The construction of a 'bhatti' for 'haleem' 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 of brick and mud for cooking haleem, a beef stew dish much popular during Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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 the Iranian tea, snacks, biryani and other lip-smacking dishes.

The building collapse threw traffic out of gear in the busy commercial area. The traffic police diverted the traffic at several points, leading to long jams.

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