3 high-rise Kochi flats demolished, reduced to debris

H2O Holy Faith apartment tower in Maradu has been demolished through controlled implosion in Kerala. (DH Photo)

Three high-rises luxury apartments at Kochi in Kerala were reduced to debris in a matter of few minutes on Saturday morning.

Nineteen-storey H2O Holy Faith was demolished by 11.15 am and twin towers of Alfa Serene, both 17-storey each, were demolished by 11.40 am.

A thundering sound, slight vibration and thick dust marked the implosion, which was witnessed by hundreds of people and under tight security vigil. Water tenders and firefighters immediately sprayed water to control the dust.

So far there were no reports of any casualty or damage to other properties, especially a fuel pipeline of IOC close to Holy Faith and houses too close to Alfa Serene. An official statement on the demolition was still awaited.

 

Two other high-rises, Jain's Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram, will be demolished on Sunday.

The Supreme Court in May last year ordered the demolition of the five waterfront luxury apartments at Maradu, about five kilometres from Kochi city, owing to violation of CRZ norms.

Hundreds of other structures in Kerala were also facing allegations of flouting CRZ norms. The SC on Friday ordered the demolition of a luxury resort at Alappuzha.

Hundreds throng to witness

Right from the early hours of Saturday people started taking vantage points to witness the historic moment of the high-rises being razed for CRZ rules violation.

Local people and people from distant places even came to watch the high rises being razed in seconds. 

Explosive experts said that it was for the first time in India that a series of such demolitions of comparatively newer and taller high-rises being carried out using controlled implosion technique. 

Terrace of all nearby high-rises was occupied by news photographers, channel crew and government officials.

Local residents lamented that even as the authorities were aware of the heavy dust to be produced by the implosions, they have not even supplied masks. 

"We never felt that luxury flats owned by influential people will be demolished one day. Though it is causing inconvenience to the nearby residents like us, we feel relieved as the demolition may send a strong message against flouting the coastal protection rules," said Mohanan K, a resident of Maradu.

The police set up barricades around 200 metres from the structures by around 9 am. Evacuation of residents near the high rises began right from the morning. Traffic along the roads near the sites was also regulated. Police and security agencies conducted air and water surveillance.

Officials of the firms entrusted with the demolition work conducted poojas in front of the structures in the morning. Warning sirens were sounded ahead of the demolition.

Edifice Engineering firm was entrusted with the demolition of Holy Faith and Vijay Steels Explosives was entrusted with the demolition of Alfa Serene. Top IAS and  IPS officials were monitoring the demolition from a special control room set up at Maradu municipality.

The demolition was initially planned at 11 am and 11.05 am. By that time most of the onlookers kept their mobile phones ready to grab the moments.

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