Hyderabad: A wall collapsed at a wedding hall at Golnaka in Amberpet on Sunday, killing four and seriously injuring a fifth. The newlywed and their parents, who were on a stage on the other side of the wall, escaped unhurt.
Swapna and Chandrashekar were marrying at the Pearl Garden Function Hall at Golnaka, when the tragedy occurred. Over 200 gue-sts attended and some were having lunch.
At around 2.30 pm, the newlyweds and their parents were on stage while guests who had finished lunch, were leaning on the other side of the 30-foot wall when it collapsed.
“I stepped onto the stage to wish the couple,” D Srinivas, auto-owner and eye-witness, said. “All of a sudden, the wall collapsed creating sound and dust. For three minutes not-hing was visible. Later we saw four persons under the rubble which also fell on my auto and two bikes.”
The Amberpet police and Disaster Response Force officials rushed to the spot. Krishna (19), Sohail (30), P Suresh (28), and Majeed (30), were pulled out of the debris while M Vijaya Laxmi (60), was found conscious.
They were immediately rushed to Osmania General Hospital, where Krishna, Sohail and Suresh succumbed. The woman was dead on arrival. Majeed fractured his left leg, left hand, and ribs.
K. Lalitha, the bride’s mother, was shocked. “The celebrations were on and the guests left for the dining hall,” she said. “We heard a loud noise and the stage shook. There was dust everywhere. A few minutes later, we heard about the injured.”
The groom’s father, K Sadanand of Narsimha basti in New Nallakunta, said, “We could not find a function hall nearby and booked this one for `41,000. The wall was not present in September and some work was in progress. The owner assured me the work would be completed before the wedding. After the renovation, this was the first wedding here.”
The groom’s family and relatives were shifted to the bride’s house at New Nallakunta, said K. Srinivas, a cousin of the bride. He runs a beauty parlour.
East Zone DCP M Ramesh promised to register a case against the owner of the wedding hall and other responsible persons.
Vijaya Laxmi was a neighbour of the bride in Narsimha basti. She and her husband Yadagiri had proceeded for lunch. She finished and went to sit in auto to rest; her husband was about to emerge from the hall when the wall collapsed.
“My mother was resting in the auto and wanted to go home,” said daughter Sailaja, of Kukatpally. “But the wall collapsed and she was crushed.”
Mahesh, brother of Krishna and a resident of Miyapur rushed to hospital but was shocked to learn that his sibling was dead.
“I got a call from my parents that Krishna was injured and in hospital,” said a sobbing Mahesh. “I rushed from Miyapur along with cousins and saw him dead.”
The accident was caused by the building owner’s massive hoarding, which was dangerously installed.
The collapse is just the tip of the iceberg. An estimated 99 per cent of building owners in the city are renovating without clearing structural stability with qualified engineers.
Citing lacunae in building permission rules, property owners are changing original structures at will in the name of renovations. To save money, they are hiring local masons unaware of structural stability who cannot be regulated by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Authorities claimed they cannot interfere and enforce with the building owners during renovations after giving building permission. Also, the corporation cannot check structural stability during renovation since the builders were merely renewing an old structure.
K. Srinivas Rao, chairman for the Telengana chapter of the Institute of Town Planners India, said the building owner’s greed (to save money) resulted in the tragedy. He said the property owner was erecting a mega-hoarding with the function hall’s name on it, but the beam could not take the load and the wall collapsed.
“Any building undergoing renovation would face similar danger since the property owner would only concentrate on beautification, ignoring the vital stability part,” Rao said. “No nodal agency has the authority to penalise or check the structural stability of the old building since it already had building permission. These loopholes allowed property owners to indulge in malpractices.”
Another grave concern was brick quality. Rao said most building owners compromised on construction material.
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