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We never ask why a building is being demolished – our job is to get rid of it: Demolition experts

The task of demolishing the twin towers was made more difficult by the presence of other residential buildings nearby.

The demolition squad.

The demolition squad.

After the Supertech twin towers were razed to the ground in 12 seconds, the demolition experts said that while they agreed this was a “national waste,” as contractors, they never ask why a building has to be brought down.

“We never get into whether it is a legal building or an illegal building… Even after working for six months on this structure, I still do not know the exact reasons. I have never even bothered to find out the reasons,” said Utkarsh Mehta, partner at Mumbai-based Edifice Engineering, the firm tasked with razing the ‘towers of corruption’ to the ground. “It is not my job. It is our job to get rid of it. We are contractors. It was more a job we took up for the prestige associated with it rather than the earnings we made out of it.”

He agreed that one could consider the entire exercise a “national waste.”

“The second way of looking at it is that it sets a precedent, shows others not to build something which is illegal, or to go in for structures without permissions in place,” Mehta said.

Asked how he would best describe the demolition, he said the crumbling of the structures was an “immaculate piece of engineering, it was a feat…  I would say it was history made.”

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‘Extremely challenging’

For Edifice, this task was different from other 100-metre-tall buildings that it has demolished.

“For most buildings that are 100 m tall and above, when they are demolished, there aren’t many hindrances from buildings located close by, water bodies, and pipelines and despite that, in this confined space, we managed to get the job done and that’s how this demolition stands out,” he told Moneycontrol after the blast.

The twin towers had come up adjacent to other residential buildings in ATS Greens Village and Emerald Court, with one of them barely nine metres away.

“That made our job extremely challenging,” Mehta added.

With the successful demolition of the Supertech twin towers, India has joined the club of countries that have razed buildings taller than 100 metres. The illegal twin towers in Noida's Sector 93A were brought down on August 28 using the waterfall implosion technique in 12 seconds. The Apex (32 storeys) and Ceyane (29 storeys) towers of Supertech had a height of 103 metres each.

Mehta said about 80,000 tonnes of debris were left after the demolition. About 50,000 tonnes of the rubble had been absorbed in the basements of the now-demolished towers while the remaining would be disposed of in 90 days, he said.

“We will have to coordinate with the Emerald Court and ATS Village societies for the disposal since the debris would have to be first processed at the site and then taken to construction and demolition waste processing centres. Coordination would be needed for fixing the timing for work at the site to cause least disturbance to residents,” said Mehta.

The debris-removal task has been handed over to the Ramky Group. “It is overlooking the debris management plan,” he said.

Mehta told reporters that 9,642 holes were drilled into the columns of the twin towers and 3,700 kg of explosives were used for the demolition. The types of explosives used were Solar coal with 6 gm, 10 gm, 20 gm, and 80 gm mass. Electric detonators, shock tubes and emulsions were also used. The tubes were placed in a way that some had a 0.5-millisecond explosion capacity, while others had a 7,000-millisecond capacity.

Chetan Dutta, who pressed the button to trigger the explosions that brought down the buildings, said: “The atmosphere was quite calm and every one of us was reassuring each other that everything would go well.”

Edifice was involved in the demolition of high-rise residential buildings in Ernakulam in January 2020.
Vandana Ramnani
first published: Aug 29, 2022 05:20 pm
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