STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Hyderabad, 8 July
Thirteen people were killed and 20 others seriously injured when a landmark hotel in Secunderabad literally collapsed like a pack of cards today. The reason for the collapse is not known yet.
Some who are being treated at the Gandhi Medical Hospital are critical. The victims were those who worked in the building and daily wage earners who stopped by for their morning cup of tea.
The three-storied, 80-year old structure, housed City Light which was famous for the aromatic Irani chai and Hyderabadi treats like Osmania biscuit and haleem. All through the day it was a beehive of activity.
The structure came down at 6.20 am and within seconds reduced itself to mounds of debris. Personnel from the Central Industrial Security Force, the City Police and their fire fighting division with the assistance of diggers and electric cutters rescued nearly 45 people.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Commissioner Mr T Krishna Babu, who supervised the rescue operations, sought the assistance of the National Disaster Response Force.
Mr Krishna Babu said a majority of the old buildings are in Secunderabad in the twin cities. Of them 57 were given demolition notices. City Light was not among them and was not identified during the GHMC&’s pre-monsoon survey.
The building did not have concrete pillars and also did not receive any safety notice. A reason being cited is the building some years ago got a modern facade and therefore might have missed the GHMC inspector&’s eye. A batti or clay oven used largely for making tandoori delicacies was built on the top floor which is believed to have contributed to the weakening of the building.
Augmenting of vessel space for delicacies during the Ramzaan month is also being suspected for the collapse.
Chief Minister  N Kiran Kumar Reddy and TDP chief Mr N Chandrababu Naidu visited the spot.
Mr Reddy also called on the injured at the Gandhi hospital.