In India’s largest ever demolition drive, Supertech’s twin towers — Apex and Ceyane — in Noida, about 50 km from New Delhi, were razed to the ground in just 9 seconds on Sunday. Located in Sector 93A, Apex, the larger of the two towers at 103 meters was the tallest building in the country (taller than the Qutub Minar) to have been brought down. With this implosion, a nearly decade-long legal battle came to an end.

About 3,700 kg of explosives were used in the controlled implosion designed by expert Joe Brinkmann with 49-year-old Chetan Dutta, an India blaster, pressing the button at around 2.30 pm.

Senior police officials present at the blast site said there was no immediate and visible damage to adjacent structures, except some cracks to a boundary wall of a nearby building. Structural stability of the other buildings (ATS Village and Emerald Court) and air quality monitoring are being done.

Declared illegal by Supreme Court

Supertech’s Emerald Court project, which included twin towers, had been declared illegal by the Supreme Court for violating building laws. Orders to raze them were issued on August 31, 2021, about 10 years after the final revision of the layout plan by the Noida Authority.

Nearly ₹500 crore was spent on developing the two towers that were supposed to have 900-odd apartments. The current market price was pegged at over ₹800 crore, sources said. The developer is reportedly giving refunds for homebuyers of these apartments, plus 12 per cent interest.

Supertech roped-in Mumbai-based Edifice Engineering, who in turn took to the services of South African experts, Jet Demolitions for the project. The demolition cost stands at around ₹20 crore and a part of the cost is to be recovered from selling the debris by the engineering firm.

In a tweet made hours before the drive, Keshav Prasad Maurya, Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh said, the Supertech’s Twin Towers were “living proof of policy of corruption and anarchy” during the previous regime of the SP-led government in the State. “Today, the building of corruption will collapse under the leadership of CM Yogi Adityanath. This is justice, this is good governance,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.

According to Sishir Baijal, CMD at property consultancy firm, Knight Frank India, a “strong statement” was made towards making real estate business “transparent and responsible”. “Developers and buyers will take cautionary notes and ensure that projects be free from ambiguity and have necessary clearances. RERA must be given more punitive powers,” he added. The developer in a statement said, the Supreme Court order will not affect any other ongoing projects.

Six months of preparation
Senior UP police official on preparations around the twin towers demolitionVideo Credit: Story: Abhishek Law; Video: Kamal Narang

According to a senior Uttar Pradesh police official, preparatory work was underway for nearly six months. On Sunday, over 500 police and traffic personnel, apart from the Provincial Armed Constabulary, were deployed as areas around Supertech’s twin towers were out of bounds for civilians.

Road diversions were put in place early in the morning as the evacuation of 5,000-odd residents from the two adjoining housing societies of Emerald Court and ATS Village was completed. About 500 sq m around the site has been converted into an exclusion zone.