Top brass heave a sigh of relief


Key officials vested with safe implosion were on their toes for three months

The three-month-long run-up to the demolition of the apartment complexes at Maradu was an uphill struggle for the top brass who were vested with the task of ensuring that the buildings came down with surgical precision sans collateral damage.

District Collector S. Suhas, who is also the Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), said that the precision felling of the apartments was a result of team work, by personnel of different departments. “So much of hard work went into the whole process. I take this opportunity to appreciate the role played by personnel of the police and also those of the Fire and Rescue Services, Regional Transport Office and the Health Department. People of the locality too cooperated, especially when Section 144 was declared in the area,” he said.

District Police Chief (Kochi City) Vijay Sakhare elaborated on how a four-member core team which comprised him, the District Collector, Sub Collector Snehil Kumar Singh and Deputy Commissioner of Police G. Poonkuzhali went about the task meticulously, holding meetings almost every day since the process to pull down the apartments began three months ago, to ensure that everything worked according to plan.

The process was set in motion following a meeting convened by Chief Secretary Tom Jose and the Sub Collector was appointed the nodal officer. The plan of action was chalked out and the agencies to raze the structures were selected. The toughest part was to convince apartment owners of the need to vacate their homes, for which a series of meetings were held, Mr. Sakhare said.

“Ten days ago, the focus shifted to bring down the structures through controlled implosion, without collateral damage to nearby houses and other structures. Much brainstorming also went into regulating traffic and the crowds that thronged Maradu on the two days to witness the high-rises being brought down. Close to 1,000 police personnel and personnel of Fire and Rescue Service were deployed and a dry rehearsal was held, to condition personnel of different agencies.”

Moreover, emergency response teams were constituted and clear-cut details drawn out on each aspect, including evacuation of people from houses in the vicinity. Information was frequently shared through media, while sirens went off at pre-fixed timings, to convey to each stakeholder what happened next, Mr. Sakhare said.

On pollution and allied concerns about removing over 70,000 tonnes of debris from the four sites, he said that the contracting firms concerned must adhere to the protocol prescribed for the purpose. All concerns of members of the public will be taken care of, he added.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 8:49:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/top-brass-heave-a-sigh-of-relief/article30551624.ece

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