Haleem furnaces may have caused collapse

Haleem furnaces may have caused collapse

The police suspect that internal constructions like a new rolling shutter and huge brick stoves to make “haleem,” a Ramadan delicacy, could have led to the collapse of City Light hotel.

The police and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials were surprised to note that the owner of the hotel undertook construction of at least 20 brick structures called “bhattis” and heavy “handees (steel vessels)” on the first floor to cook haleem, a thick beef stew.

 “Today also construction work began around 4 am, even before the hotel opened for business. The first floor collapsed because of the illegal work done by the hotel owner,” said Shankar, a local auto driver who survived the collapse.

The hotel management had hired labourers for erecting the temporary structures. GHMC commissioner T Krishna Babu said construction of the bhattis and use of large quantity of water might have weakened the structure, leading to the mishap.

The bhattis are usually constructed outside hotels, as the haleem cooks slowly on wood. “We need to confirm this with experts, but it may have increased the pressure on the building, which was constructed with lime and not concrete,” Babu said.

He said 307 commercial structures in the twin cities have been identified for demolition. The details have been put on the GHMC website. Thirty-three buildings have been demolished so far. “In all, 14 owners have gone to court,” the commissioner said.

The six-decade-old City Light Hotel was a popular landmark in Secunderabad. Located on the busy Rashtrapati Road and close to the Secunderabad railway station and the famous Monda market, it was famous for Iranian tea, snacks and biriyani.

The building collapse threw traffic out of gear in the busy commercial area. The police had to divert the traffic at several points, leading to snarls.

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