June 5, 2021 12:55:16 am
A false ceiling of state guesthouse Sahyadri cracked and fell on Friday. The wooden ceiling, installed in the lobby, collapsed around 3 pm.
“The false ceiling, made of Plaster-of-Paris, rested on a single frame. The entire thing collapsed. Luckily, no one was injured and we have cleared the entire site,” a senior PWD official said.
The ceiling was located over a small water channel with fountains. Four meeting rooms and a mid-sized auditorium flank the lobby. The chief minister, deputy chief minister and senior ministers hold meetings in these areas and refreshments are served in the open space near the fountains.
A Sahyadri staffer said that Environment Minister Aditya Thackeray was in the building when the incident took place. “We heard the cracking sound and asked everyone to leave,” the staffer added.
An officer in the CM’s office said, “The staff of Sahyadri told Aaditya Thackeray to wait inside Sahyadri, as the ceiling in the lobby was coming down. But he decided to come out with everyone else.”
Aaditya did not respond to phone calls from The Indian Express. The PWD, which has been facing constant flak for poor construction, now has one more reason to worry. Earlier, it was under fire for poor quality of construction at Manora MLA house, which deteriorated in just 20 years and had to be pulled down.
Sahyadri was earlier the official residence of the chief minister. Morarji Desai stayed in Sahyadri as the chief minister of Bombay state. The first chief minster of Maharashtra, Y B Chavan, also stayed there. But after his successor M Kannamwar died in office, it was believed to be jinxed and converted into a guesthouse.
Then Maharashtra CM Sharad Pawar had approached architect I M Kadri in 1991 to redesign the building. Kadri had designed 20 residential rooms, a Cabinet meeting room, conference rooms, lecture and banquet halls. The project cost Rs 20 crore and was inaugurated in mid-1990s.
An executive engineer of PWD said that an yearly inspection of the false ceiling had not taken place, but could not say since when. “The entire false ceiling was hanging from a flimsy frame on the wall,” he added.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.