Close to a week after the Chennai Silks building at South Usman Road in Chennai burned for 38 straight hours, the establishment is yet to be demolished. To make matters worse, portions of the building, which is now charred and in a precarious state, began to collapse onto the road on Wednesday.
The Fire and Rescue Department had said on June 2 that the building will be completely razed down in three days. Meenakshi Vijayakumar, Deputy Director, TN Fire and Rescue Services, had told The Hindu that the Public Works Department and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority were also involved in the demolition, which was being carried out level by level.
However, two days after the proposed deadline, the dilapidated building still stands, a continuing danger in an area crowded with commercial establishments.
Peer Mohammad, a representative of Parveen Traders – a private contractor involved in the demolition work – told Puthiya Thalaimurai that only 50% of the work had been completed so far. In fact, he claimed, it would take at least another week to bring the structure down. "Since there are so many buildings near the site, we have to be very careful," said Peer Mohammad.
"A portion fell, but nobody is hurt. We have cordoned off the area to ensure members of the public don't come here as well. We do not work after it gets dark because we can't see clearly," he added.
The debris that remains after the demolition will be removed only after the process of razing it down is complete. So, the contractor predicts that it will take over a week to completely clear the area.
The demolition process began on the morning of June 2, once the state government gave the nod for demolishing the building that had violated several norms. Six jawcutters are reportedly currently in use for the demolition process.
At around 4.30am on May 31, a major fire broke out at the Chennai Silks building in T Nagar. While 12 people were soon rescued from the showroom, it took 38 hours, 450 fire personnel and over 7 lakh litres of water to contain the blaze.