Saturday marked the first day of the final round of preparations for razing Supertech’s twin towers, with the demolition due in just over a fortnight. With the Supreme Court agreeing to the Noida Authority’s request to postpone the demolition to August 28, the process of charging the towers began Saturday morning, officials at Edifice Engineering, the firm carrying out the demolition, said.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, Utkarsh Mehta, Partner at the Mumbai-based company, said the delivery of the explosives had been delayed by some time. “They came in two vans escorted by the Noida police, from an authorised magazine located in the interiors near Palwal district in Haryana… The charging process began around 10 am, after the vans arrived at 8.30 am. We first organised a puja.”
Mehta explained that the explosives used are specially designed for demolition of such buildings, and they had sourced it as a special order from Solar Industries, one of the country’s biggest brands in the same. “KMP Enterprises, Palwal, an authorised magazine holder, that can store explosives and transport them, was hired.”
Explaining the difference between the explosives used for this demolition and for mining purposes, Mehta said that the latter were deployed underground and were heavy. “The towers do not require those kinds of explosives. A few of the explosives used in mining are being used here in specific columns that are stronger. These columns have to go because then only the fall will be created. They are generally located in the lower floors, at the base. On the top floors, we are using a very minimal quantum of explosives as that is enough to blast the columns.”
Approximately, 80 gm / metre explosives will be used, and placed almost 2 metres in. “The explosives resemble a plastic tube containing a powder of sorts. Roughly 3,700 kg of explosives is what we expect will be used for the whole exercise, out of which around 250-300 kg will be used every day for charging the building (placing the explosives in). There are 9,640 holes drilled in the towers, which are to be charged.”
On Saturday, when work went on till 7 pm, they achieved around 15% of the scheduled charging for the day, Mehta said.
“Not even a single gram of explosives” can be stored at the site, he added. “Once we are finished for the day, we record exactly what we have used. It is as precious as gold,” he said, elaborating on the precautions.
There were 46 people involved in the charging process, Mehta said. “The team consists of around 10 Indian local blasters, around five blasters from Jet Demolition, a South Africa-based company which is partnering with Edifice for the demolition, and one additional expert from the UK, who has an experience of over 50 years. They are accompanied by 30 labourers.”
Mehta added that residents of the two buildings located in the vicinity of the demolition site, Supertech Emerald Court and ATS Village, had nothing to be alarmed out.
“People living in the radius of 250 metres of the demolition site have to evacuate between 7 am and 5 pm, which is again a safety measure; nothing is going to happen. We have studied the vibration prediction report, which we got done by a third party in the UK, we have done an analysis of the Emerald building vis-a-vis the fall. All of it suggests that the vibrations will be minimal. This zone falls in Seismic Zone 5, and the vibrations that you get there — also known as the Peak Particle Velocity – are approximately 300 mm per second. Here what will be generated by the demolition is one-tenth that. We will also make sure that all animals are evacuated from the 250-metre radius.”
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Some towers of ATS Village located right next to the two towers to be demolished are covered in large sheets of cloth, to ward off dust arising from the exercise. “There will be a lot of air pressure too when the buildings come down. What I have understood is that the actual explosion will last around 8-9 seconds. Once that is done, the building will start crumbling down, and it will take 3-4 seconds after the blast.”
Edifice Engineering is planning a meeting with the Noida authority and other stakeholders for the final steps in the evacuation zone, Mehta said. “We will line up a meeting sometime next week.”