Nearly 10 years after area residents first went to court against Supertech’s twin towers in Noida’s Sector 93A, it will take less than 10 seconds to demolish them this Sunday. Trivia says the towers are taller than the Qutub Minar, but for the residents of Emerald Court, the structure was a monstrosity.
The residents told the court that the towers — 100 metres tall with 40 floors each — are coming up in a green space that was promised when they bought their houses in the society. More serious violations of norms were found too.
The builder planned to have 900 flats, more than two-thirds of which he’d sold by the time the Supreme Court stamped the demolition order last August. Demolish the towers in three months, said the court; but technical difficulties — safety of adjacent apartment buildings mainly — kept delaying it.
Finally, the Noida authorities and Supertech contracted a company called Edifice Engineering. It has had success in similar projects abroad. Some of the floors were, meanwhile, demolished with manual labour, to make the eventual blast-and-fall relatively less intense.
Now, Apex (32 floors) and Ceyane (29 floors) will collapse “like a waterfall”, with the trigger scheduled for 2.30pm, August 28. That’ll be the end of the illegal project — once billed as among the biggest in the region, covering 7.5 lakh square feet.
Numbers remain huge in its demise too.
The blast will take 3,700 kg of explosives, with nearly 20,000 connections to its pillars, triggering “one-tenth of a Magnitude-4 earthquake”. “Noida is designed for earthquakes of up to 6 on the Richter Scale, so it should be safe,” Mayur Mehta, Edifice’s project engineer, has told NDTV. Vibrations will be felt to about 30 metres.
At 2.15 pm — that is, 15 minutes before the blast — traffic on the Greater Noida Expressway will be stopped as it is within the 450-km no-go zone. If all goes by plan, 15 minutes later it’ll be a go again.
It’ll be a longer wait for residents of the adjacent areas. Around 7,000 people, with at least 150 pets, and 2,500-odd cars, have been asked to leave by 7 on Sunday morning. Many have left before that — the most optimistic ones for short vacations.
On Demolition Day, gas and power will be off, and be switched back on by 4 pm, for the residents to be allowed back in by 5.30. Dust should settle in 8-12 minutes, according to the project engineer.
As for the remote-controlled blast, that would take all of nine seconds. The Noida administration will depute an officer to press the trigger, standing next the project engineer and others — not more than 10 people in all.
There will be a large number of labourers, though. They will move in for management of debris immediately — eventually dumping it in designated areas across Noida over the next few days.
Their first task will be a check on adjacent areas. Buildings have been covered in a special cloth to minimise dust penetration, and their bases strengthened.
But not everyone thinks it’s vacation time. Most residents remain worried about their glassware and worse, though happy the monstrosity is going to be gone soon.
The housing project — Supertech Emerald Court — was planned in 2004, and the building plan was approved in 2005. This had 14 towers of up to nine floors each.
In 2012, Supertech got a revised plan okayed — this one had these twin towers. By the end of that year, the Emerald Court Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) went to the Allahabad High Court.
It did not take long for the High Court to be convinced that the towers should not exist. In April 2014, it ordered the demolition, and a refund with interest to those who’d booked flats in these two buildings.
That order was upheld by the Supreme Court last year, ending the battle on paper. On the ground, it’ll be won once the towers are rubble.
The project engineer is positive: “Only God can stop us now.”