After a major portion of the retaining wall,at one of Shimlas key British-era heritage hotels,caved in about two days back,the Himachal government is set to stop construction work on the lawyers chambers on Wednesday.
With the collapse of the wall threatening the entire Oberoi Clark Hotel complex,Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy,who had convened a meeting of top officials including Principal Secretary (urban development) Bharti Sihag,Shimla Municipal Corporation Commissioner M P Sood,Shimla Deputy Commissioner Arun Sharma and state geologist Arun Sharma,directed the Municipal Corporation to advise the Register General of High Court to get work on the lawyers chambers stopped.
The seven-storey project,being built at a site that is reportedly prone to landslips,has also been blamed for the collapse of the road leading to the High Court/The Mall close to Shimla club. With the heritage buildings wall caving in,authorities have finally pressed the panic button.
Says a senior engineer of the PWD: The soil at the project site is weak,unstable and a sliding zone. It was foolish to assign this site for the heavy structure. Now I fear the digging on the opposite side will also endanger the 11-storied High Court building if the work is not stopped and the project abandoned.
At the meeting called by the chief secretary,it has been decided to summon experts from IIT Roorkee to inspect the site. Lets first get their opinion as how to protect the site. Roorkee experts should also be asked to undertake an immediate study if the site is suitable for the lawyers chambers project. If not,High Court should be informed about the opinion of experts before taking any step,the chief secretary reportedly told the officers.
Meanwhile,the Oberoi Clarks management says it had already submitted a letter to the Commissioner,Shimla MC,Deputy Commissioner and also High Court about the threats the hotel faced due to the digging. We want immediate protection measures to save the building from further damage, says an official.