Two illegally constructed skyscrapers in India’s national capital region were brought down in a controlled demolition on Sunday as crowds of people cheered in awe from nearby rooftops.
It took less than 10 seconds for the nearly 100-metre-tall “twin towers” built by real estate firm Supertech to be demolished by 3,700kg of strategically placed explosives that ensured minimal damage to surrounding buildings.
The Supertech “twin towers” now hold the infamy of being the tallest structures on record in India to be razed to the ground.
Prior to the demolition, thousands of people living in apartments near the blast site in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida city were moved to safety for about 10 hours. Some apartments are located just 30ft away from the blast site, while the required safe distance is 65ft.
Both the towers with nearly 1,000 apartments between them were surrounded by scaffolding, fences, barricades and special covers to block dust from the 80,000 tonnes of debris that were generated.
Several buildings in the area were also covered in plastic sheets to protect them from dust and debris. According to officials, disposing of the debris will take at least three months and most of it will be used to fill the site and the rest will be recycled.
Residents returned to the area in the evening after experts examined the impact of the demolition that took place around 2.30pm local time.
“Largely, everything is OK,” said Ritu Maheshwari, a government administrator, after the demolition.
“It happened as expected.”
Following a years-long legal battle, India’s Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of the towers last year after finding the builders had violated multiple building regulations and fire safety norms.
Supertech, which constructed the towers, was directed to refund the entire amount to homebuyers with 12 per cent interest from the time of the booking.
The top court also ordered the firm to pay an additional $250,200 to the Residents Welfare Association for the harassment caused due to the construction of the towers.
The “Apex” and “Ceyane” buildings, with 32 and 29 floors each, were razed at a cost of $2.25m.
“It would come in the top five demolitions in the world in terms of height, volume, steel and tightness of the structure,” Utkarsh Mehta, a partner with Edifice Engineering, which brought down the building in collaboration with Jet Demolition from South Africa, told the Associated Press.
Mr Mehta said 3,700kg of explosives were drilled into thousands of holes in the columns and shears of the towers to bring down the structures in a “waterfall” method of demolition.
Supertech said the company incurred a loss of about $62.5m, including construction and interest costs.
“Our overall loss is around $62.5m, taking into account the amount we have spent on land and construction cost, the charges paid to authorities for various approvals, interest paid to banks over the years and the 12 per cent interest paid back to buyers of these two towers, among other costs,” the company’s chairman RK Arora was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The market value of the nearly 1,000 apartments at the towers was expected to be $87.5m.