NEW DELHI (AP) – Two high-rise towers in India were brought down in controlled demolitions Sunday after the country’s top court declared them illegal for violating building codes, officials said. They became India’s tallest structures to be razed to the ground.
More than 1,500 families left their apartments in the area more than seven hours before the nearly 100-meter- (328-foot) towers collapsed inward from the impact of the blast. The 32-storey and 29-storey towers, which were being built by a private builder in the city of Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, were still occupied.
“For the most part, everything is fine,” said Ritu Maheshwari, the state administrator, after the demolition. “It happened as expected.”
The demolition was completed within seconds but followed a short-lived 12-year battle between local residents and the builder, Supertech Limited.
The demolition of the towers occurred after the Supreme Court found that the builder, in collaboration with government officials, violated laws prohibiting construction within a certain distance from neighboring buildings.
The High Court said the construction of the two towers was also illegal because the builder did not receive the necessary permission from other apartment owners in the area.
Before the demolition, the towers were surrounded by scaffolding, fences, barriers and special covers to prevent dust from the roughly 88,000 tons of debris that would have been generated, officials said. The disposal of all the waste will take three months.
Residents are expected to return to the area on Sunday evening after experts examine the effects of the demolition. Some rooms are only nine meters (29.5 feet) from the blast zone, and the required safe distance is 20 meters (65.6 feet).
“It will come in the top five demolitions in the world in terms of height, volume, steel and structural compactness,” said Utkarsh Mehta, a partner at Edifice Engineering, which demolished the building in collaboration with Jet Demolition from South Africa. 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 arches of the towers. Experts used the waterfall method of destruction where one story falls into the next.
Joe Brikmann, director of Jet Demolition, said he was initially confident that there would be no damage to buildings near the demolished towers.
“The buildings in this area are in the high seismic zone (zone IV) and have been built to receive earthquakes that are stronger than the tremors from an explosion. We are sure that the demolition of the towers will not cause any property damage,” The newspaper The Times of India quoted him as saying.
The world’s tallest building with explosives so far was 165 meters (541 feet) high, and occurred in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 27, 2020, according to Guinness World Records.