Shimla: Heavy rains have taken a toll of the historic Ridge Maidan as a newly reinforced concrete wall right before the Gaiety Theatre caved in today threatening the century old building that was renovated recently.
â€œAn about 40 meters of the Ridge in front of the Gaiety Theatre has caved in, said Subhash Chand, an officer with the municipal corporation. â€œIt is the same portion that had developed cracks last month,â€ he added.
The affected portion stands closed for pedestrians. However, Subhash said that the Ridge was not threatened. â€œThe damaged portion was repaired but overnight rains further eroded the retaining walls foundation causing the collapse, he said.
With the slide having exposed the dining room of the Amateur Dramatic Club that is housed in the Gaiety Theater to danger, KK Sharma, assistant municipal commissioner said, â€œunless the northern slope at the lower side, which has haphazard constructions including a market for Tibetan refugees is not fortified, stabilizing The Ridge will remain a problem.â€
Major cracks on the Rigde had surfaced in 2008, which had cause a retaining wall to collapse and had damaged or buried about 20 shops.
Shimla and the surrounding hills have been receiving heavy rains for the past many days with the city recording 60 mm of rain by morning, when Ridge caved in.
After spending Rs 11.48 crores and undergoing restoration for five years, the 123 year old Gaiety Theater was re-opened 25 June, 2009.
Built in the Victorian Gothic style, the old theater in the building is considered to be a copy of Royal Albert Hall of London.
Photo credit: Amit Kanwar