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The demolition done, the next challenge for Noida authorities is to clean the mountain of debris generated due to the demolition. Officials involved with the operation had earlier said about 55,000 tonnes of debris would be generated. It may take as many as three months to clear the debris. The waste will be dumped at designated areas.
The area had been evacuated hours ahead of the blast and measures put into place to ensure that adjoining structures are not affected by the explosion. Traffic diversions were planned and guidelines laid down to tackle any emergency.
The two towers were rigged with over 3,700 kg of explosives. Explosives were inserted into nearly 7,000 holes in the pillars of the buildings and 20,000 circuits were set. The blast was planned to ensure that the towers fall straight down in what is called the "waterfall technique".
About 7,000 residents of the area were moved out this morning. Gas and power supply in the adjoining buildings has been suspended. They will be restored by 4 pm, and residents will be allowed back in by 5.30 pm. Police have asked residents to wear masks indoors when they are allowed back into their homes to guard against the dust.
Traffic on the Greater Noida Expressway, within the 450-metre no-go zone, has been stopped. Officials this morning said traffic movement will be suspended for 30 minutes -- 15 minutes on either side of the blast, from 2.15 pm to 2.45 pm.
Some of the adjoining buildings are as close as 8 metres to the twin towers. There are others within a 12-metre radius. They have been covered by a special cloth to minimise dust penetration. The area has been declared a no-fly zone of one-nautical mile.
The demolition exercise took place under a Rs 100 crore insurance policy. This should cover damage to adjacent buildings, if any. The premium and other costs have to be borne by Supertech. While the demolition project may cost upwards of Rs 20 crore, the loss of the towers - skeletal as they were - is estimated at more than Rs 50 crore.
Mumbai-based company Edifice Engineering was tasked with demolishing the two towers. The firm, which has carried out such demolitions elsewhere, worked with the Central Building Research Institute and the Noida authorities to bring the towers down.
The builder had planned to construct 40 floors in each tower. While some floors couldn't be built due to court orders, some were broken down manually ahead of the explosion. One of the towers, Apex, now has 32 floors. The other has 29. While Apex is 103 metres tall, Ceyane stands at 97. The plan was to 900+ flats, two-thirds of which had been booked or sold. The Supreme Court has ordered the developer to provide a refund with interest to those who had bought flats in the structure.
The twin towers were demolished after a legal battle that lasted 9 years. Residents of Supertech Emerald Court society moved the court in 2012 after these towers were approved as part of a revised building plan. They said the towers were built at a site where was garden was initially planned. Illegalities were found in approvals and some officials faced action. The Allahabad High Court ordered the demolition in 2014. The case then went to the Supreme Court. Last August, the court gave three months to demolish the towers, but it's taken a year due to technical difficulties.
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