Hyderabad: The Mississippi Hangar, also known as the Gowliguda Central Bus Station and one of the iconic structures of Hyderabad for nearly nine decades, collapsed on Thursday around 7 am.
No casualties were reported and a major disaster was averted, as Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) officials, on account of the building’s weak condition, had suspended bus services and commercial operations apart from evacuating stalls from the hangar by June 30.
Incidentally, TSRTC in-charge Managing Director Sunil Sharma was to inspect the structure along with team officials around 9.30 a.m. on Thursday. It was a narrow escape for him and the team as well.
Sharma said sensing the precarious condition of the structure, officials had suspended services and commercial operations inside the hangar in advance. Transport Minister P. Mahender Reddy also inspected the area later in the day.
Imported from US
Imported from Butler Manufacturing Company, USA, in the 1930s, the hangar was perhaps the first pre-fabricated structure to be installed in Hyderabad. Covering about 1.20 acres, the hangar served as the first bus depot of the Nizam’s Road Transport (RTD) under the Nizam’s State Railway.
According to city historians, though the structure was meant for maintenance of aircraft, the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had utilized it for his fleet of buses manufactured by Albion Automotive of Glasgow. Later, the structure was converted into the Central Bus Station by RTC in 1951.
Intra-State and inter-district bus services were shifted to the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, Imlibun, in 1994 and after serving as a garage for a decade, the hangar was transformed into the City Bus Station in 2006. Besides facilitating parking for 85 buses in the night and accommodating four change-over points for crew, it also housed bus-pass counters and was generating Rs.1.27 lakh per month for the corporation.
TSRTC is now identifying alternative locations for parking, the counters and commercial operations. Possibilities of a commercial complex to replace the hangar after a structural stability assessment by experts are also being explored.
The hangar, for now, is history.