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Maradu flat demolition: Explosives arrive at H2O Holy Faith apartment, technical committee happy with pre-blasting works

The demolition of the four apartments to be carried out through controlled implosion has been scheduled for January 11 and 12. The no-objection certificate has been granted by the district collector for the demolition.

Written by Vishnu Varma | Kochi |
Updated: January 3, 2020 7:27:58 pm
A truck carrying explosives near the Holy Faith H2O apartment in Maradu. (Express Photo by Nithin RK)

The first set of emulsion explosives has reached the H20 Holy Faith apartments, one of the four residential complexes in Maradu, Kochi ordered to be demolished by the country’s apex court for the violation of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms.

A truck carrying the explosives was given the maximum level of security as it wound its way from the Angamaly explosive magazine to the apartment complex in Maradu escorted by a team of police officials. Officials of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) will give the final nod before the explosives are used for demolition.

Edifice Engineering and Vijay Steels are the two firms tasked with the demolition. While Edifice Engineering will carry out the demolition of H20 Holy Faith, Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram apartments, Vijay Steels has been tasked with razing the Alfa Serene apartments. The emulsion explosives and detonator fuses to be used by Edifice Engineering was transported to Kochi from Nagpur earlier this week.

The demolition of the four apartments to be carried out through controlled implosion has been scheduled for January 11 and 12. The no-objection certificate has been granted by the district collector for the demolition. Ahead of the demolition, residents staying in a 200 metre radius of the four complexes will be moved out to safer locations.

This week, the explosives will be planted into holes drilled into pillars on each floor of the apartments. A team of the IIT Madras is also expected to arrive in Kochi in the coming days to install their equipment for tests of vibration during the implosion.

Workers carrying out pre-blasting works at the Golden Kayaloram apartment in Maradu. (Express Photo by Nithin RK)

Since a pipeline of the Indian Oil Corporation runs in front of the Holy Faith apartment, sandbags have been placed on the pipeline as part of safety measures. At the time of the demolition, the supply of oil will be halted through the pipeline and instead of water will be allowed to flow.

Maradu municipality chairperson TH Nadeera told the Indian Express that a technical committee comprising of engineers and demolition experts is meeting Friday to finalise the schedule of the demolition. Before the meeting, they inspected the four apartment sites and checked the pre-blasting works carried out by the demolition contractors.

Residents living near the Alfa Serene apartments have been demanding that the Golden Kayaloram and Jain Coral Cove complexes be demolished first as they are located in sparsely-populated areas. As per the current schedule, both of them have been planned for day 2 – January 12.

An action council formed by residents near Alfa Serene have been asking for a comprehensive insurance package that will take care of any possible damage to their homes as a result of the demolition. At least half a dozen houses located close to the boundary walls of the Alfa Serene complex had developed cracks when a portion of the swimming pool collapsed in November as part of pre-demolition works.

The residents had expressed fear that their homes, built with savings accumulated over decades, will crumble by the demolition next-door. But SB Sarwate, the demolition expert and consultant of the state government for the exercise, warded off such fears, claiming that the cracks were due to natural causes and that the controlled implosion will not have any adverse effect on neighbouring homes.

However, a study conducted by a team of IIT Madras in September last year had indicated that the demolition would lead to widespread environmental effects, including impact on air quality, water bodies, loss of carbon footprint and generation of massive demolition waste.

The demolition comes in the wake of a Supreme Court order in May last year demanding the razing of the flats as they were built in CRZ-III notified area close to the backwaters where no construction is permitted. Although petitions were filed by flat-owners and the builders seeking a review of the ruling, they were dismissed by the top court. The court later asked the Kerala government to pay each flat-owner Rs 25 lakhs as compensation and attach the properties of the builders.

Sub-collector Singh told the Indian Express, “We are open to the idea. We have sought the opinion of the demolition firms because they are the ones doing it. Once they respond, we will take a decision.” Singh said while there’s no chance of the demolition getting preponed or postponed, the apartments to be demolished could be swapped. He added that he was happy with the pre-blasting works done by demolition firms on the four complexes.

An action council formed by residents near Alfa Serene have also been asking for a comprehensive insurance package that will take care of any possible damage to their homes as a result of the demolition. At least half a dozen houses located close to the boundary walls of the Alfa Serene complex had developed cracks when a portion of the swimming pool collapsed in November as part of pre-demolition works.

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