After much anticipation and a nine-year legal battle, the Noida Supertech twin towers will be demolished on Sunday, August 28. The Ceyane (29 floors) and Apex (32 floors) towers, which are part of Supertech Ltd’s Emerald Court project, were found to be in violation of multiple construction regulations and are thus being demolished.
The towers, which comprise approximately 850 flats and are located in Sector 93A near the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, have a height of nearly 100 metres — taller than the Qutub Minar.
Preparations are in full swing, from charging the buildings to clearing the area. Residents of nearby apartment complexes, ATS Greens Village and Emerald Court, have been ordered to evacuate by Sunday morning, according to the resident welfare association (RWA). Emerald Court has 15 towers, while ATS Village has around 25 towers and four villas, according to the police.
The surrounding 500-metre radius has been designated as an exclusion zone, with no human or animal allowed except for members of the demolition team. Aside from that, the police, a National Disaster Response Force team, eight ambulances, and four fire tenders will be stationed at the site.
WHY THE TWIN TOWERS ARE BEING DEMOLISHED?
The New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) approved Supertech in 2005 to construct 14 nine-story towers, a shopping complex, and a garden area. However, in 2009, it revised its project to include twin high-rise buildings, Apex and Ceyane. Despite the fact that the NOIDA authority approved the new plan, the Emerald Court Owners Residents Welfare Association (RWA) filed a complaint with the Allahabad High Court in 2012, alleging illegal construction.
The Allahabad High Court ruled in 2014 that the towers were illegal and ordered their demolition. The Noida Authority and Supertech filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, challenging the order. On August 31, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the Allahabad High Court’s decision and ordered the buildings to be demolished.
The Supreme Court ruled that the twin towers’ construction violated the minimum distance requirement.
It claimed that the towers were constructed in violation of building codes and fire safety standards.
HOW THE TWIN TOWERS ARE BEING DEMOLISHED?
The process of total collapse includes the gradual weakening of critical building supports, i.e., the removal of structures that help resist gravitational force. This will be accomplished through the use of numerous explosives placed within the structure. The explosives on the lower floors of the structure usually start the controlled collapse of the structure.
The technique was first used in 1773, when 68.04 kg of explosives were used to raze the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Waterford, Ireland. It was recently used in India to justify the 2020 demolition of four luxury waterfront apartments in Kochi’s Maradu in front of Vembanad Lake for violating Coastal Regulation Zone regulations. The same method can be used to demolish bridges, smokestacks, towers, tunnels, and other structures.
According to Utkarsh Mehta, CEO of Edifice Engineering, the preparation for this demolition took nearly seven months, including one month of planning and six months of on-site preparations. To demolish the Supertech towers, Mumbai-based Edifice Engineering has partnered with South Africa’s Jet, the same team that demolished the Maradu buildings.
The two towers have been infused with approximately 3,700 kg of explosives. Apex has 11 primary blast floors, where all columns are blasted, and seven secondary floors, where 60% of the columns are blasted. Ceyane has a total of ten primary blast floors.
The 13-second event will generate approximately 80,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste, of which 50,000 to 55,000 tonnes will be used to fill the site and the remainder will be sent to a construction and demolition plant for processing.
IMPACT OF THE TWIN DEMOLITION
The demolition of Noida’s Supertech twin towers has raised several concerns. The first is the amount of dust produced by the demolition.
The second issue is debris removal, even though officials have stated that the rubble will be removed within three months.
Third, experts have expressed concern about windblown dust generated by the blast, which can remain in the air for weeks and cause health problems for those living nearby. To combat the dust, the Noida Authority has stated that it will provide water tankers, mechanical sweeping machines, and sanitation personnel. Officials have also promised to monitor air quality.
The impact of dust on Noida’s already poor air quality cannot be ruled out, according to Verhaen Khanna, a Delhi-based environmental activist and co-founder of the New Delhi Nature Society. He suggested that instead of water spraying, a more scientific method be used to control the dust.
Another source of concern is the vibration and shockwaves caused by such a large demolition. According to Mehta, multiple studies conducted by the company predict a vibration travel time of 20-34 mm/s. However, he claims that the impact will be much lower on the ground because the predictions are made without taking into account the design of the blast. “The design is known as a waterfall implosion.”
Six to seven seconds after the first point, the last point of the building hits the ground. As a result, there will be no sudden impact on the ground, and the vibration will spread gradually,” he explained.
According to Mehta, the company has assured nearby communities that there will be no vibration that will damage any structures but may cause cracks. He also stated that officials will monitor the vibrations at various locations during the process to assess the damage.
WHEN IS THE TWIN-TOWER SUPPOSED TO GET DEMOLISHED?
Despite the fact that the Court ordered the demolition within three months, multiple delays resulted in the final date being set for August 28.