September 26, 2022

2 tallest towers in India demolished for violating law

NEW DELHI (AP) — Two high-rise apartment towers in India were razed to the ground Sunday in controlled demolitions after the country’s Supreme Court declared them illegal for violating building codes, officials said. They were the tallest buildings in India to be razed to the ground.

More than 1,500 families evacuated their homes in the area seven hours before the nearly 100-meter (328 ft) tall towers collapsed inward on impact. The 32-storey and 29-storey towers of a private developer in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, are yet to be occupied.

“For the most part, everything is fine,” Ritu Maheshwari, a government administrator, said after the demolition. “It went as expected.”

The demolition was completed in seconds, but followed a 12-year court battle between local residents and Supertech Ltd.

The towers were demolished after the Supreme Court found that the builder, in collusion with government officials, violated laws prohibiting construction within a certain distance from nearby buildings.

The Supreme Court held that the construction of the two towers was illegal as the builder did not obtain mandatory consent from other apartment owners in the area.

Before the demolition, the towers were surrounded by scaffolding, fences, barriers and special casings to prevent dust from the roughly 88,000 tons of debris generated, officials said. It will take three months to clear all the debris.

Residents are expected to return to the area on Sunday evening after experts assess the impact of the demolition. Some apartments were located as far as nine meters (29.5 ft) from the blast site, and the required safe distance was 20 meters (65.6 ft).

“It will be in the top five demolitions in the world in terms of height, scale, steel and structural rigidity,” said Udkarsh Mehta, partner at Edifice Engineering, which brought down the building in partnership with South Africa’s Jet Demolition. At a cost of 180 million rupees ($2.25 million).

Mehta said 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds) of explosives were drilled into thousands of holes in the columns and shears of the towers. Experts used the waterfall demolition method, in which one story slides into the next.

Joe Brickman, director of Jet Demolition, previously expressed confidence that buildings adjacent to the demolished towers would not be damaged.

“The buildings in this area are in a high seismic zone (Zone IV) and are built to experience earthquakes stronger than the vibrations caused by explosions. We are confident that there will be no damage to property due to the explosion of the towers,” Times of India newspaper quoted him as saying.

The world’s tallest building to be demolished by explosives to date is 165 meters (541 ft) tall, according to Guinness World Records, which occurred on November 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.