Demolition complete,4 Maradu flats turn to dust
Kochi: The authorities on Sunday completed demolition of four apartment complexes built near backwaters in violation of coastal regulation zone norms in Maradu on the outskirts of Kerala’s Kochi by razing two remaining luxury skyscrapers through controlled implosions in compliance with a Supreme Court order.
Officials said it took just four seconds to pull down the largest of the four buildings, which housed 128 flats over 25,000 square feet, at 11 am. Another 17-floor building with 40 flats was demolished three-and-half hours later in two seconds to complete one of the largest demolition drives in the country that was planned over four months.
Fire department personnel rushed with water jets to control dust that enveloped a major part of Maradu when the buildings came crashing own.
Two skyscrapers were earlier reduced to rubble in six seconds through controlled implosions on Saturday as thousands of people assembled in Maradu to witness the spectacle. Other than a portion of a complex slipping into the backwaters no other damage was reported on Saturday.
“Blasting of all four apartment complexes is successful. Water bodies near these flats are least affected and other dwelling units near these buildings are also safe,” said district collector S Suhas. “It was a perfect implosion. Not a single debris have fallen in the lake,’ he said.
Said Vijay Sakhare, city police commissioner: “It was an absolute success. No damage has happened to the building adjacent to the demolished one. And no harm to any human life or any animal life. No properties in adjoning area damaged,”
Officials of the Edifice Engineering, the main blasting contractor involved in the demolition, said the demolition of Golden Kayaloram, one of the four buildings, was most challenging because it was closer to backwaters and another building complex. But they managed to bring it down without any damage or obstructions.
Officials said clearing 70,000-tonne rubble is now the main task after the demolition and it will take at least 40 days to clear it. A dumping site has been identified and a major part of the rubble will be used for metalling and minor constructions.
Some of the flat owners were seen wiping their tears as the buildings came down and complained they were punished for the faults of builders and officials, who gave permission for constructing the high-rises.
On the eve of the demolitions, one of the owners had said: “It is injustice done by a state against its citizens.”
The Supreme Court ordered the demolition of the flats in last May after a long litigation and directed the authorities to pay Rs 25 lakh compensation each to the flat owners.
A special pooja invoking Lord Ganesha to remove all hurdles was held on Saturday to ensure smooth operation, said the companies involved in the operation.
Authorities imposed prohibitory orders to control the surge in the number of onlookers.
According to green activists, the demolitions will be a lesson for land encroachers, who misuse water bodies and other natural resources. However, many fear the latest demolition drive will trigger a series of such actions.
According to experts, the last big demolition drive was in Chennai in 2016 when an 11-floor building was pulled down through controlled implosions. This is the first time such skyscrapers were pulled down through controlled implosions.
Mardu P Vijayan, a local resident, said it took almost five years to build the apartments. “But they collapsed in less than five seconds. It is a lesson for those, who bribed officials and flouted laws.”
With inputs from PTI