Saturday, October 08, 2022

Demolition teams race against time to rig Noida Twin Towers with 4 tonnes of explosives

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | August 19, 2022 07:21 PM

NOIDA: Teams of experts are racing against time to install four tonnes of explosives into the stripped down skeleton of Noidas Twin Towers marked for demolition on August 28 in the most daring such exercise in Indias history.

Engineers from South Africa and Mumbai are working non-stop for the precision demolition of Apex and Cayenne towers, comprising 915 flats, which took three years to build but were deemed illegal by the Supreme Court, signalling zero tolerance for dodgy builders.

The illegal towers rising up to 103 metres nestle between upmarket societies called ATS Village and Emerald Court in Sector-93A, but they are only nine metres from the latter's Aster-2 apartment block.

Edifice Engineering, the Mumbai-based demolition agency tasked with the job, said work is going on at full speed to pack some 7,000 drilled holes with explosives.

"The charging (with explosives) of Cayenne is complete and so far we have rigged up to the 10th floor of Apex," Project Director Mayur Mehta told IANS.

The engineer said experts have chosen plastic explosives of a variety used in the civilian sector for heavy-duty blasting, and not military-grade products.

But anxiety was visible among Emerald Court residents, who must vacate their flats at 7 am for the better part of August 28 as a precaution against the inevitable cloud of dust and shooting stones.

Some residents joined a 'Kirtan' on Friday to seek divine aid for unflawed demolition, the second big one since 2020 when Edifice flattened four blocks comprising 350 flats in Kerala which were half the height of the Noida towers.

"Some 40,000 tonnes of debris will come down in a matter of seconds, so the question on the mind of many of us is in which direction the towers will fall," said Aster-2 resident Pratap Chakravarty.

Edifice has assured that the falling debris will be directed towards a service road and in the worst scenario, chunks of concrete may flatten a tiny section of a compound wall of ATS.

"We can only pray because this is the largest demolition in India and there are also nagging doubts over the integrity of our foundation pillars," Ajay Mehra, another Aster-2 resident, said.

U.B.S. Teotia, President of Emerald Court RWA, is visibly one of the busiest people involved in the project.

"We have got most of the pillars repaired and even today I fought with them to finish all the work in time," Teotia, a former CRPF officer, told IANS.

But residents had other worries as well. Many have started calling carpenters to board glass window panes to minimise shockwaves from the blasts. Others are worried for their beloved gardens.

People in Emerald Courts and other nearby apartment complexes are also working on their individual plans for the day's evacuation along with pets or bed-ridden elders.

"Both my parents are bed-ridden and we also have a dog, so we'll call an ambulance and shift them to a hospital for a day or so," said a neighbourhood resident who did not want to be named.

Edifice Engineering chalked up August 25 as the day for a rehearsal of the evacuation, which will involve the fire service, police, emergency medical crew and officials.

A nearby NOIDA flyover will most likely be the hotspot for droners and news photographers for the momentous destruction.

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