Today's Paper

Portion of Chepauk Palace collapses

PLIGHT OF A PALACE: On the ground floor of the Chepauk Palace in Chennai after the collapse on Thursday. Photo: K. Pichumani  

City Bureau

CHENNAI: A portion of the 232-year-old Chepauk Palace on Wallajah Road near the Marina here collapsed around 1-15 p.m. on Thursday. There was no casualty. The collapsed portion measured 235 sq ft.

A wooden beam on the ground floor on the southern side came crashing down. The palace building has a total area of 48,000 sq ft.

About 30 employees attached to the Directorate of Agriculture Information Unit Press and a few in the records section were working in the dilapidated portion at the time of the collapse, according to an eyewitness.

A Public Works Department official said it had a few weeks ago advised the Agriculture department to shift its offices, and the latter had acted on it.

An Agriculture department officer attributed the collapse to the storing of stones and other building materials on the first floor for over a year. A woman employee said: "We were shifting to the adjacent building; the sudden collapse came as a rude shock."

New block

About 10 years ago, a new block was declared open on the premises, from which senior officers in the Agriculture and Horticulture departments are functioning.

The PWD official said a proposal to list the Palace as a heritage building was afoot and the notification was awaited. The collapsed portion could be reused after strengthening measures.