The Raigad district administration on Friday demolished the 33,000 sq ft sea-facing bungalow of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi in Alibaug using controlled blasting, nearly a month after initiating the process to raze the Rs 100-crore property constructed in violation of the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms.
The structure was flattened by placing over 110 dynamite sticks, weighing around 30 kg, inside the pillars of the property, officials said. More than 50 people, including labourers and technicians, were deployed for the demolition work, they said.
Four private sector experts were also roped in by the district administration to keep the explosion under control.
Terming it a “symbolic action”, Raigad District Collector Vijay Suryavanshi said, “By taking such measures, we are sending a message to the people to follow environmental laws.”
The bungalow, Roopanya, was constructed in violation of CRZ norms on Kihim beach in Alibaug. A garden constructed between the bungalow and the beach also encroached on government land, officials said.
In January, district administration officials had first began the work to demolition the structure using bulldozers, but found it time-consuming due to the reinforced cement concrete (RCC) and steel bars construction.
“It would have taken us months to demolish it with a bulldozer. So we decided to use dynamite,” Additional District Collector Bharat Shitole, who has monitored the demolition of several other structures using explosives, said.
According to sources, the tiles and plaster were razed first. Labourers working at the site took three days to drill one-and-half-foot holes inside the pillars of the bungalow to make space for dynamite sticks, sources said. Excavators were used to drill into the concrete pillars.
The use of dynamite to demolish the bungalow generated lot of interest among people and several local residents reached Kihim beach to witness the explosion. Shrikant Mujrale, who works at nearby bungalow, said, “We had read that the authorities were using explosives and this was the first time that such a thing was happening in Alibaug, so I didn’t want to miss it.”
Suryavanshi and Superintendent of Police Anil Paraskar, who reached the site around 10.30am, evacuated the area up to 200 metres as a safety measure. People were, however, allowed to gather on the beach side of the property to see the blast, an official from the collector’s office said.