June 4, 2023

NEW DELHI (AP) – Two high-rise condo towers in India were razed in a controlled demolition on Sunday after India’s Supreme Court outlawed building code violations, officials said. They became the tallest buildings in India and were razed to the ground.

More than 1,500 families moved out of their apartments in the area for more than seven hours before the nearly 100-meter (328-foot) tower collapsed inward under the impact of the implosion. The 32- and 29-storey towers, built by a private builder in the New Delhi suburb of Noida, have yet to be occupied.

“Overall, everything is fine,” said government administrator Ritu Maheshwari after the demolition. “Things happened as expected.”

Demolition was completed in seconds, but residents of the area fought a 12-year court battle with builder Supertech Limited.

The tower was razed after the Supreme Court found the builders had colluded with government officials to violate a law banning construction within a certain distance of nearby buildings.

Building the towers was also illegal, the Supreme Court said, because the builders did not have the mandatory consent of other apartment owners in the area.

Prior to demolition, the towers were surrounded by scaffolding, fences, barricades and special coverings to block dust from the roughly 88,000 tons of debris that would be created, officials said. It will take three months to process all the pieces.

Residents are expected to return to the area on Sunday night after experts examine the impact of the demolition. Some apartments were located just 9 meters (29.5 feet) from the blast site, and the required safety distance was 20 meters (65.6 feet).

“It will be in the top five demolition projects in the world in terms of height, volume, steel and structural tightness,” said Utkarsh Mehta, a partner at Edifice Engineering, which worked with South Africa’s Jet Demolition to demolish the building cost 180 million rupees ($2.25 million).

Mehta said 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds) of explosives were drilled into thousands of holes in the tower’s posts and scissors. Experts use a waterfall demolition method, where one story collapses on the next.

Joe Brikmann, director of Jet Demolition, earlier said he believed buildings near the towers that were demolished would not be harmed.

“The buildings in the area are in a high seismic zone (Zone IV) and are built to experience earthquakes that are much stronger than the implosion vibrations. We are confident that the implosion of the towers will not cause any damage to the property,” The Times of India is quoted as saying his words.

According to Guinness World Records, the tallest building in the world to be demolished with explosives is 165 meters (541 feet) tall so far, on November 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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