Authorities on Friday carried out a mock drill without explosion to test the preparedness for the demolition of the Maradu apartment complexes, a small municipality in Kochi. On Saturday, at around 11 am, the landscape of Maradu will be redrawn after pulling down two of the four complexes — ‘H20 Holy Faith and Alfa Serene’.
On Saturday and Sunday, at least 8,00,000 square feet of concrete structures will be reduced to rubble, the first such exercise in the country for violating the Coastal Zone Regulation norms.
The Supreme Court ordered demolition of these flats last May after several rounds of litigation.
“We have done the trial run successfully. We vacated at least 500 families living in the vicinity. Since Friday evening there will be strict restrictions for people around the area,” said inspector general of police Vijay Sakhre. At least 200 policemen have been deployed in and around two complexes, with red flags dotting the area.
Section 144 has also been imposed in the area.
The 19-floor H20 Holy Faith, which includes 91 apartments, will be the first to be exploded using 212.4 kg of explosives at 11 am.
After removing walls and all other fittings, explosives were placed in 1,471 holes in the 70-metre high building. Officials of Edifice Engineering, the main contractor, said in the controlled implosion, rubbles will be restricted within the 10-metre radius. At least 26,400-tonne rubble will accumulate, which will be as high as a six-storey building. After the first explosion, the second apartment will be pulled down if everything goes according to plan.
“In both building complexes, blasts have been deigned in such a way that debris will not fall down in the backwaters. Both buildings will be down in less than four seconds,” said Uttkrash Mehta of Edifice Engineering, supervising the whole operation.
As the countdown for demolition of the complexes kicked off, nostalgia filled residents, some of whom have lived there for more than 10 years. “I feel as if I am going to lose one of my close relatives. When I see the skull of my beautiful flat I remain speechless,” said Major Ravi, a former commando of the National Security Guard, who owned a flat in one of the complexes.