As it happened | Holy Faith, Alpha Serene demolition jobs well-executed, says Ernakulam Collector

A view of H2O Holy Faith (left) and Tower 1 of Alfa Serene (right) being razed down in Maradu, Kochi on Saturday.

A view of H2O Holy Faith (left) and Tower 1 of Alfa Serene (right) being razed down in Maradu, Kochi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The Holy Faith and the two towers of Alpha Serene were demolished using emulsion explosives

Kochi's H2O Holy Faith and Alfa Serene, the apartments built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules at Maradu, were knocked down on January 11 using emulsion explosives.

Also read: How the Maradu demolition saga unfolded over 13 years

The first blast took place at the extreme right corner of the ground floor of H2O Holy Faith at 11.18 a.m. In less than 5 seconds, the explosive materials went off one after the other and the 16-floor building was reduced to rubble. The two towers of Alfa Serene was knocked down in a span of few minutes following this. The demolition has gone as planned, according to preliminary reports.

A view of one of the two towers of Alfa Serene being razed down in Maradu, Kochi on Saturday.

A view of one of the two towers of Alfa Serene being razed down in Maradu, Kochi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

 

Tomorrow, Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram are set to be demolished in a similar fashion.

 

1.45 pm

 

Health teams find the event incident-free

The Rapid Response Teams which were on standby with three ambulances at each site and fire engines were let off as no untoward incidences have been reported. The Rapid Response Team was led by District General Hospital, Tripunithura Talulk hospital, Lakeshore Hospital and P.S. Mission Hospital.

The health team, in the preliminary inspection, have found reported no safety concerns. Immediate issues related to dust problems will be addressed as people come back to their homes. The field staff at Nettoor Primar Health Centre in Maradu panchayat will be making each house. Additional district medical officer S. Sreedevi had given the details

A mock drill has been scheduled at Golden Kayaloram at 3.30 p.m. today. The apartment is to be demolished tomorrow.

 

1.30 pm

Pollution Control Board assessing the impact

K.S. Sundhi

Where H2O once stood.  

 

The Pollution Control Board officials maintained that they were assessing the impact of the demolition of the two complexes — Holy Faith H2O and Alpha Serene.

Initial eyewitness accounts said some debris from an Alpha Serene tower fell into the backwaters, during the second phase of the blast.  But an official associated with the blasts described the process as having developed "as planned."

The damage to the backwaters will be assessed within a few hours and officials from the district administration, including district collector S. Suhas are at the site to examine the debris and the extent of the problem.

However, the angle of the fall of the buildings has been satisfactory, said R. Venugopal, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, PESO.

The scene of the blast at H2O was near perfect with the compound walls staying quite intact.

The dust level too was less than expected and the traffic movement was restored within 20 to 30 minutes of the second blast, a testimony to the efficiency with which the blasts were coordinated.

1.22 pm

Wonderfully executed job, says Ernakulam Collector

Fears proved largely unfounded, officials maintain, as the demolition of two towering apartment complexes at Maradu in Kochi on Saturday morning did not appear to have caused any major damage to nearby houses or public infrastructure.

On the face of it, everything went as planned and even the dust settled in a matter of a few minutes, R. Venugopal, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, PESO, said before carrying out an inspection of the site of H2O Holy Faith — the first structure to be razed to the ground.

Utkarsh Mehta, managing director of Edifice Engineering, which carried out the demolition of the 67-metre-high Holy Faith, said that there was not a single stone from the building that went into the lake abutting the structure. “Everything went as per our design, which makes all of us happy. There was a bit of damage to the compound wall, but nearby buildings were unaffected,” he said.

It was on the orders of the Supreme Court that the flats built in violation of the CRZ rules were pulled down. Two more nearby apartments, Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram, will be demolished on Sunday.

Officials maintained that the implosion of Holy Faith did not have any impact on the Thevara-Kundannoor bridge that’s right in front of the building.

Fire and Rescue officials cleaning the Thevara-Kundannoor bridge in front of the demolished apartment H2O Holy Faith

Fire and Rescue officials cleaning the Thevara-Kundannoor bridge in front of the demolished apartment H2O Holy Faith   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Meanwhile, Disha Prathapan, councillor at Maradu municipality, said whether the demolition of Alfa Serene damaged any nearby houses would only be known after a detailed inspection. People in the locality had been complaining, from the time pre-demolition works began at the apartment a few months ago, about the activity causing cracks in their houses.

An official of Vijay Steels that pulled down Alfa Serene said while a part of the debris from one of the towers fell into water, that was how it was planned. This was to avoid damage to houses, he added. “The debris that went into the lake would be removed,” he said.

The house nearest to Alfa Serene. Except for a few splinter-inducted d breaches on the tin sheet, the house seems to have more or less withstood the impact of the blast

The house nearest to Alfa Serene. Except for a few splinter-inducted d breaches on the tin sheet, the house seems to have more or less withstood the impact of the blast   | Photo Credit: M.P. Praveen

Vijay Sakhare, Kochi police Commissioner and IGP, said almost the same, maintaining that the implosion was executed in a manner to avert any damage to houses in the locality. “The rubble that’s gone into water is not much. It will be removed,” he said.

District Collector S. Suhas described the implosion as a “wonderfully executed job”. “It was perfectly done at H2O Holy Faith, but in the case of Alfa Serene, some debris fell into water but that will be taken out. The vibration readings were well within the safety limits. All departments worked in perfect unison. There might have been minor damages to some trees and houses, but that would be compensated as allowed by the law, he said.

1.12 pm

 

Dust clouds have cleared from the area where Alfa Serene once existed. The visibility of the area also improved. The rooftops of the nearby buildings have been covered with dust.

 

12.47 pm

Demolition of Alfa Serene went according to plan: Structural Engineer

The demolition of Alfa Serene apartment went according to plan with no damage to adjoining structures, said Anil Joseph, the structural engineer deployed by the Kerala government to assess the  strutural stability post-demolition.

He said that only a small portion of the debris has fallen to the lake but everything is under control. The blast site and adjoining areas will be inspected soon by the district collector and team,  Mr. Joseph said after examining the structural stability of dwellings adjacent to Alfa Serene shortly after the blast

The three-member engineering was sent off with loud cheers by the crowd.

 

12.15 pm

Huge crowds gather to see the demolition

A glimpse of the crowd that had gathered to see the demolition in Maradu, Kochi

A glimpse of the crowd that had gathered to see the demolition in Maradu, Kochi   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

 

Hundreds of people gathered in and around the two Maradu apartments that were razed to ground to see the demolition process in person.

In the days preceding the demolition, the residential apartment complexes had seen a surge in the number of visitors in what has been termed as 'demolition tourism' in God’s Own Country.

Read more
 

11.46 am

A portion of debris from Alpha Serene fall into backwaters

Remaining of Alfa Serene apartments at Maradu in Kochi on Saturday.

Remaining of Alfa Serene apartments at Maradu in Kochi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: M. Periasamy

 

A huge pile of debris could be seen at the site of Alfa Serene. From preliminary reports, unlike in the case of the implosion of H2O Holy Faith, a portion of the first tower of Alfa Serene has fallen into the water body.

A view of the debris from Alpha Serene Tower II after it has been demolished.

A view of the debris from Alpha Serene Tower II after it has been demolished.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The dust that is yet to settle has affected the visibility around the area. We are still awaiting reports on the implosion's affects on the nearby residential areas..

11.43 am

 

Alpha Serene demolished in a span of few seconds

The fourth siren has been sounded. Both the towers of Alpha Serene is also gone.

A view of Alpha Tower 1 being demolished

A view of Alpha Tower 1 being demolished   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

 

The two towers of Alfa Serene were demolished in a flash. The two explosions took place in a difference of around two minutes. As in the case of the previous explosion, dust spread across the area in the aftermath of the explosion.

A view of Alfaa Serene building being demolished on Saturday. Courtesy: PRD, Kerala

A view of Alfaa Serene building being demolished on Saturday. Courtesy: PRD, Kerala   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

11.38 am

 

The palm fronts of coconut trees located next to the blast site wore ash colour as the demoliton dust settled on them. The dust clouds were cleared in a few minutes. The fire force is examing the ground at the first site now.

The demolition seems to have been successful and thus complied the Supreme Court order, said Usha Titus, secretary, Environment Department. Detailed analysis will follow to assess the impacts. The team of officials coordinated the events well, she said.

 

11.33 am

 

Utkarsh Mehta of Edifice Engineering, which carried out the demolition of H2O Holy Faith, said everything went as planned without any hiccups. “There was no damage to any houses in the area,” he said, attributing the delay in the timing of the blast to a helicopter flying over the area.

Demolition photograph shared by PR department

Demolition photograph shared by PR department  

 

 

11.28 am

Holy Faith demolished in a smooth operation

 

Holy Faith H2O was demolished at 11.18 a.m., eight minutes behind the schedule. It was a smooth operation with no unplanned events taking place.

The original scheme was to pull the building down at 11 a.m.

Huge clouds of dust bellowed out of the blast site and covered the area where the flat stood tall a few seconds ago.

The tremor of the blast could be felt a few hundred meters away.

The glass panels of the hotel from which The Hindu was reporting the event rattled in the explosion.

Some fly off debris fell over the Kundannoor bridge. However, no debris fell into the nearby water body, according to Edifice Engineering.

The accelerometers and geophones set up at the 10 locations recorded the vibration of the blast. The vibration was also felt beyond the building across the nearby water body, said A. Bhoominathan, Professor of the Civil Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

- K.S. Sudhi

11.20 am

 

Second building, Alfa Serene, is expected  to be demolished in a similar manner in a couple of seconds.

Dust from the blasting of Holy Faith has reached the neighbourhood of Alfa Serene apartment which is next in the line for demolition

Dust from the blasting of Holy Faith has reached the neighbourhood of Alfa Serene apartment which is next in the line for demolition   | Photo Credit: M.P. Praveen

 

 

11.18 am

The building collapsed in the blink of an eye, after the third siren ended. H2O Holy Faith went down in less than five seconds.

No complications have been reported so far. The area has been covered with a cloud of dust.

11.17 am

 

Third and final siren sounded. This is the longest one, and as the siren ends, the implosion is expected to be kicked off.

Also read: How the Maradu demolition saga unfolded over 13 years

 

11.10 am

Demolition delayed by few minutes

The demolition schedule has been revised - according to the revised one, the first building will be demolished at 11.15 am, and Alfa Serene five minutes later.

The revision in time is due to delay in completion of ariel survey.

11.05 am

 

The demolition of the first building, which was expected to start at 11 a.m., has been delayed for a few minutes as the ariel survey is ongoing.

The first two sirens have been given. The demolition is expected to be on after the third siren.

 

10.25 am

 

The district administration said all residents have been moved from the exclusion zones of Alfa Serene and H2O Holy Faith to safe places.

Police have been deployed at 32 critical points to cut off public access to the blast sites. Eight strike teams are on standby while police are patrolling the backwaters in the area on three boats.

Also watch: How a building in Chennai was demolished in 2016

 

 

10.00 am

 

Residents in neighbourhood unhappy with arrangements

Residents in the neighbourhood of Alfa Serene, one of the two apartments being pulled down on Saturday for violating CRZ norms, were an agitated lot, as they accused the authorities of not doing enough to safely evacuate them to temporary shelters ahead of the planned implosion.

Unlike the impression created by the Sub-Collector and other authorities through the media that all arrangements had been made for the evacuation, nothing was done on the ground and that they were completely in the dark about the evacuation protocol, they alleged.

Read more
 

 

9.00 am

 

Policemen patrol the backwaters near the buildings to evacuate people

Policemen patrol the backwaters near the buildings to evacuate people   | Photo Credit: H.Vibhu

Police have started evacuating people from near the H2O Holy Faith apartment. Vehicular movement has also been stopped along the road that leads to the apartment. The evacuation of people including the onlookers will began by 9 a.m. said Fort Kochi RDO Snehil Kumar Singh, who is overseeing the demolition of flats. Mr. Singh who arrived at the area held final round of  discussions with the members of the technical committee and police officials.

Also read: Firemen to be the first responders at blast sites

Precautions being taken

  1. Rapid Response Team near all sites for medical emergency
  2. Four ambulances on Day 1 – two each at a site; one additional ambulance on Day 2
  3. Private hospitals in the vicinity to aid Government medical team
  4. Ambulance@108 on standby
  5. Eight fire tenders on Day 1 – four each at a site
  6. Fire tenders to be at 200 metres from implosion
  7. Control Room to order waterspray by fire tenders after two minutes of explosion
  8. Water pumping to houses to be stopped during the operation
  9. Electricity to be switched off

Problems expected

  • Dust to create visibility problems
  • People in the vicinity should wear good quality masks to keep dust away to avoid respiratory problems; cement dust could create problems for asthma patients

Dos And Don'ts

  1. People are advised not to take pictures with mobiles of ambulances and fire tenders when they are on the move
  2. Do not cross the exclusion zone
  3. Follow the instructions issued by the authorities
  4. Watch the demolition from a safe distance

 

8.00 am

 

Evacuation of residents begins

The police have begun to evacuate people living in the vicinity of Alfa Serene, one of the two flats being pulled down by implosion at Maradu in Kerala’s Kochi on January 11, 2020

The police have begun to evacuate people living in the vicinity of Alfa Serene, one of the two flats being pulled down by implosion at Maradu in Kerala’s Kochi on January 11, 2020   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

With just hours left for the demolition of the first two of the four flats at Maradu constructed in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms, the police have started temporary evacuation of residents near the Alfa Serene apartment within the 200 metre radius designated as exclusion zone for a good part of the day.

Temporary shelters have been arranged for the families to be evacuated from the vicinity of the two apartments to the KUFOS campus, Panangad, and Sacred Heart College, Thevara. They are expected to be allowed to return within hours of the demolition.

Residents near Kochi's H2O Holy Faith have covered their houses with plastic sheets before they left on January 11, 2020 morning.

Residents near Kochi's H2O Holy Faith have covered their houses with plastic sheets before they left on January 11, 2020 morning.   | Photo Credit: Abhinaya Harigovind

 

Meanwhile, the Kundanoor-Thevara bridge has emerged as one of the preferred vantage points for onlookers busy taking pictures and selfies. People from far and wide are turning up to witness what is to be the first of its kind spectacle in the State.

"I used to see these apartments every day on my way to work. No matter what the reason is,  it is heartbreaking that they are being demolished," said Sajjad of Thalayolapatambu in Kottayam.

Noormuhammed, who was a resident of Alfa Serene for over seven years, said that he would not be among the spectators. "Let the judge who ordered its demolition and the people enjoy it. It was our home until now and no one can see their home getting reduced to rubbles," he said from his flat at Panayapally in Mattancherry.

(M.P. Praveen)

 

7.50 am

 

Pooja at the apartment complexes

Two priests begin a pooja before the Maradu structure on January 11, 2020

Two priests begin a pooja before the Maradu structure on January 11, 2020   | Photo Credit: K.S. Sudhi

 

 

7.00 am

 

Final inspection

Workers engaged in discussion before demolition work begin on January 11, 2020 in Kochi.

Workers engaged in discussion before demolition work begin on January 11, 2020 in Kochi.  

An expert team from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), inspected the apartment complexes for the final check on the connections.

On Friday evening they had suggested relocating the initiation point from where the blast would be triggered at Alfa Serene.  The initiation point was relocated some distance away from the earlier spot so as to minimise the possible impact of the demolition of H2O reaching the site. The new location will be 130 metres away from the building, said R. Venugopal, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, PESO.

Also read: Maradu demolition: How the saga unfolded over 13 years

 

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:34:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/maradu-apartment-demolition-h2o-holy-faith-and-alfa-serene/article30540956.ece

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