Cloud of dust rise as two high-rise apartment blocks are razed to the ground in Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India (Altaf Qadri/AP)
28 August 2022

Two high-rise blocks in India demolished for violating building laws

28 August 2022

Two high-rise apartment blocks in India were razed to the ground on Sunday after the country’s top court declared them illegal for violating building laws, officials said.

They became India’s tallest structures to be demolished.

More than 1,500 families vacated their apartments in the area more than seven hours before the 328ft (100m) twin towers crumbled inwards in a controlled explosion.

The 32-storey and 29-storey blocks, which were being constructed by a private builder in Noida city on the outskirts of New Delhi, were yet to be occupied.

The twin high-rise apartment buildings were declared illegal by India’s Supreme Court for violating building laws (Altaf Qadri/AP) (AP)

“Largely, everything is OK,” said Ritu Maheshwari, a government administrator, after the demolition. “It happened as expected.”

The demolition was completed within seconds but followed a 12-year court battle between residents in the area and the builder, Supertech Limited.

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

The Supreme Court said the construction of the two towers was also illegal because the builder did not receive mandatory consent from other apartment owners in the area.

Ahead of the demolition, the towers were surrounded by scaffolding, fences, barricades and special covers to block dust from the approximately 88,000 tons of debris that would be generated, officials said. Disposing all of the debris will take three months.

Residents are expected to return to the area on Sunday evening after experts examine the impact of the demolition.

Some apartments are just under 30ft (9m) away from the blast site, and the required safe distance is 65.6ft (20m).

Clouds of dust rise as the two tower blocks are razed to the ground in a controlled demolition in Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi (Altaf Qadri/AP) (AP)

“It would come in the top five demolitions in the world in terms of height, volume, steel and tightness of the structure,” said Utkarsh Mehta, a partner with Edifice Engineering, which brought down the building in collaboration with Jet Demolition from South Africa at a cost of 180 million rupees (£1.9 million).

Mr Mehta said 7,716lb (3,500kg) of explosives were drilled into thousands of holes in the columns and shears of the towers. Experts used the waterfall method of demolition in which one storey collapses on to the next.

Joe Brikmann, director of Jet Demolition, said earlier that he was confident no harm would come to the buildings adjacent to the demolished towers.

“The buildings in this area are in a high seismic zone (zone IV) and built to experience earthquakes which are much stronger than vibrations from an implosion,” he was quoted by the Times of India newspaper as saying.

“We are confident that the implosion of the towers will not cause any damage to properties.”

The tallest building in the world to be demolished with explosives to date was 541ft (165m), in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on November 27 2020, according to Guinness World Records.

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