Once a buzzing popular landmark, the junction now remains an empty space and at times, being used to park vehicles. On July 4 last year, City Light hotel, which was one of the better known Irani cafes in Secunderabad, came crumbling down, killing 18 people.
And with Ramzan having started, many citizens, who were once fond of the City Light hotel, reminisce their memories of the Irani outlet, especially during the month of fasting. “It was one of the oldest cafes in Secunderabad at least. My grandfather took me there first when I was a child, and as I grew up it became a ritual to go there for tea daily,” recalled Mohd. Akram, who runs a footwear store near Monda market.
Many also remember the haleem from the City Light, which had its own flavour and attracted customers from across the city. “My friends and I would make it a point to have haleem there at least four or five times during Ramzan as it was different in taste, and was delicious,” said Prashanth Reddy, who stays at AOC centre. His friend, Sai Kiran, also mentioned that the tea at the hotel was quite a hit with patrons. However, the ones who miss the hotel badly are those whose businesses are located nearby, and those who used to frequent it almost everyday for tea, all year round. Farooq Ibrahim, who set up his own business at Palika Bazaar near the old Gandhi Hospital premises, said, “I started operating in 1970, and since then, three generations of my family were customers there. Apart from Alpha hotel, it was the only other Irani café in the area,” he remembered.
They, like many others, hope that some day in future, the City Light hotel will be rebuilt again. “It was like the Madina hotel of Secunderabad. Unfortunately, both have ceased to exist now,” sighed Mr. Farooq. While the owner Syed Hasan Balloki has no plans of reconstructing the hotel, the issue is anything but over. The Labour Department, having served the owner two notices for failing to deposit Rs. 50 lakh as compensation to the victims’ family members, will soon take action against him under the Revenue Recovery Act.
A senior official informed that there was no response from the owner till date, in spite of sending two notices. “The matter will be forwarded to the Joint Commissioner of Labour in a day or two, who will then decide the next course of action,” he said.