Demolition: A Lesson

No, it was not a terrorist attack, it was demolition in full view of public, with TV cameras on. It was planned well in advance. Sharp at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday, 28th August, the twin towers were brought down with waterfall implosion mechanism using 3700 kgs of explosives, but leaving neighbouring buildings and their residents unscathed.

The Supertech Twin Towers, Apex and Ceyane, 338 feet (32 storeys) and 318 feet (31 storeys) tall respectively, in UP’s Noida were found to be in violation of multiple construction and fire safety rules by the Allahabad High Court in 2014. The Supreme Court upheld the HC ruling and ordered their demolition.

The records of the case were replete with instances of collusion between Noida authority officers and the builder, revealing a nefarious complicity of the planning authority, who jeopardised the protection of the environment and the well-being of residents. Even the minimum distance requirements between the two buildings were not adhered to.

This judgement is a lesson for builders and authorities that accountability will be fixed if building laws are violated. It also highlights the need for more transparency in the sector, like digitised land records and approvals in public domain.

The entire process of planning and planting explosives took 187 days, while the construction of towers took more than ten years, and within 12 seconds, the two synchronised blasts ripped through the twin towers reducing them to a heap of rubble.

The cost of demolition was Rs 20 crore, while the cost of construction is estimated to be over and above Rs 200 crore. And this is not the one off case. In the past too, a several structures have been pulled down, though not of this scale.

Why such an illegal construction can’t be nipped in the bud, while it is being constructed in full view of public including government authorities and politicians? The answer is obvious. Corruption.

The fact is that almost all builders have some sort of political patronage that help them secure all kinds of NOCs and approvals. Money and muscle powers are also on their side. That’s why courts of the land have to intervene, if the same is brought to their notice.

But construction takes time, labour and money. Destruction is easy and fast. Irrespective of the fact that builders have to lose huge money, demolition means destruction, sheer wastage of our own national resources including manpower.

While the culprit officers and builders must be penalized and punished severely for their acts of omission and commission, the alternative use of such illegal structures, e.g. for the purpose of public and social welfare, housing the homeless, hospital, charitable institution etc may also be thought of as an alternative, instead of demolishing the same.


–Kaushal Kishore

34 Comments

  1. Corruption is rampant. While it has always existed, has it ever been as bad as it is now or do we feel it now because we are living through it? Every generation thinks theirs is the greatest and the worst. I wonder if there will ever be an answer about the corruption problem or, better yet, will it ever be something that no longer exists?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is a big question, Nancy. In a vast country like India, it’s difficult to say that it will be eliminated, though things are improving, and this demolition is an example of intolerance to corruption. One thing comes to my mind is disintermediation. Instead of manual intervention, the process of approvals etc should be digitalised with no man to man contact. But willpower is no less important. Thank you, Nancy for sharing your concern. Much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just going to praise you, Kaushal, for your suggestion of reclaiming for the public the buildings that are to be demolished, when I remembered your note about
    the serious problems with safety and building regulations. Perhaps, demolition is the only way to curb corruption and plant trees in the provided space.
    Thank you for the poignant video!

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those areas are not for planting trees. This may also remain a wishful thinking like mine. Those areas have been converted for residential purposes. The builder had already permission to construct, but he constructed violating the rules like minimum space requirements. Let’s see who and what comes next there. Thank you, Joanna for sharing your beautiful reflections!

      Like

    1. Building was structurally safe, Cheryl. The main issue was violation of various construction rules including those for well being of residents. But in any case, corruption needs to be eradicated. It’s like a termite.

      Liked by 1 person

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