Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it wasn’t Superman either!
It was something straight out of The Omen but no one was decapitated.
Metal sheets fixed on the façade of a star hotel under construction prised themselves loose and came crashing down, giving motorists and pedestrians a nasty shock on Vittal Mallya Road here Monday.
It was providential that no one was injured when the sheets blew off in gusty winds, but their falling from the 25-storeyed building — J.W. Marriot — did raise safety concerns.
Delayed call for help
Though the sheets began to fall one by one at around 9.30 a.m., it was only at 4.30 p.m. that the police were informed and traffic was diverted. Adjacent roads such as St. Mark’s Road, Lavelle Road and Kasturba Road saw bumper-to-bumper traffic for more than two hours.
According to workers who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, the managing staff tried to handle the problem themselves and only when they failed did they inform the jurisdictional police.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services was roped in only 9.30 p.m. This too was after an outraged citizen informed it of the incident. A fire tender was sent to the spot.
It was only around 5.30 p.m. that a safety net was draped over the walls to protect unsuspecting citizens below.
Eyewitnesses said the metal sheets were blown off by gusty winds. “The building is still under construction and it’s already falling apart,” fumed one.
“This is nothing but the result of cheap and careless construction,” said E. Channabasavaiah, a policeman from the Cubbon Park police station.
In a statement released to the press, Parul Thakur, general manager, J.W. Marriott, said: “We have taken cognisance of the developments that took place at our property’s construction site and have taken immediate action. We have been able to get timely assistance from the traffic police in cordoning off the area and managing the traffic diversion. We regret this unfortunate incident and are taking all steps to ensure that public and personnel safety is accorded top priority.”
No action yet
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the police have not taken any action against the hotel management. BBMP’s Chief Engineer (East) Krishna Swamy said the hotel management and their architect were responsible for the construction and safety.
“The BBMP can initiate action as per Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976, only if there is any building bye-law violation.”
The police, who can take suo motu action, have also washed their hands off the incident, claiming it was “a minor case” and they had received no complaint.