Shimla: With a re-built supporting retaining wall giving way and structural engineers declaring the building unsafe, Oberoi groups heritage property Hotel Clarkes was shut down indefinitely after guest and staff members were evacuated on yesterday night.
With the steeply inclined sliding zone scraping close to six feet of the heritage building, we on Sunday night had to evacuate all guests and staff members so as to safeguard lives first,” said DP Bhatia, general manager Hotel Clarkes.
Guests occupying 18 rooms at the hotel had to be shifted to another star hotel.
At a stone’s throw from the multistory High Court building, excavation work for constructing a lawyers chamber has endangered the heritage building.
To make way for the construction of the lawyers chambers, not only were about a dozen green trees felled but as soon as excavation work started an vital motorable road link that connected the High Court to the highway broke down after a retaining wall caved in May.
With the onset of monsoons, gardens of the hotel, adjacent to the broken road gave way a month ago.
To save the hotel a retaining wall was reconstructed in a hurry but it collapsed two days ago, exposing the plush property to being pulled down should it slide further.
The heritage hotel was constructed in 1898 and was one of the first acquisitions of MS Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi hotel chain, when he set out to become an entrepreneur.
Photo: Ravinder Makhaik