Ten families were evacuated and shifted to government-owned circuit house--- Villy Park following sudden caving in of a wall at Chief Minister’s official residence, ‘Oak-Over’, a British era well-preserved property in the town.
The wall was built sometime back as an outer boundary, where the Chief Minister had raised a Gaushala (cow-shed) for rearing an indigenous Pahari cow, which is considered auspicious for people in the hills.
Reports said the wall collapsed following two days of incessant monsoon rains and landslides in the state, including the state capital.
The private houses on the rear side of the ‘Oak-Over’ were threatened and families' living there got panicked. Thus, the administration got all families moved out of their properties.
Senior officials, including Sub-divisional Magistrate (Urban) Manjeet Sharma rushed to the spot after affected families reached Chief Minister’s residence.
A resident Arvind Kukreja, informed that they tried to reach Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur for help after the incident. Since the Chief Minister was on tour to Karsog (Mandi), his wife Dr. Sadhana Thakur listened to the grievance and intervened promptly without wasting any time. She also called the officials to the site.
SDM (Urban) said, “The families have been shifted to the safe place and lodged at the Circuit House. The government will provide them all help till the caved-in site is restored and protected.”
The British era ‘Oak-Over’ — one of the landmark properties in the town has undergone several chances to add more facilities for the incumbent Chief Ministers.
After former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh – a man with a great sense of aesthetics, had got a lot of works carried out at the property.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has got several changes done to add more facilities, likean area for meeting the public, parking and one out-camp office built. Besides an elevator, he also had ordered PWD to create space for rearing a cow by building a small shed towards one side of the complex along with gate no 2.
However, due to monsoon rains, a portion of this space caved in leading to wall collapse.
Himachal Pradesh has been badly hit by flash floods, landslides, house collapse, and complete disruption of life due to heavy rains and cloud bursts.
Shimla is also affected by landslides.
More than 20 persons have lost lives in the past 72 hours only.