CHENNAI: After standing tall for over two years amid the ruins, the 11-storey residential highrise at Moulivakkam, twin of the ill-fated tower that crashed killing 61 workers in 2014, will finally be razed to rubles in a controlled operation expected to last just 10 seconds.
“There will be a 10 second countdown after which the building would be razed in the next 10 seconds using explosives like gelatin, RDX, detonators and ignitors, and ammonium nitrate,” said P Ponlingam, chief executive officer of Tirupur-based Maglink Infra Project Limited, which has bagged the demolition contract.
The company staff already deployed at Moulivakkam have been preparing it for the demolition, removing whatever that could be salvaged and identifying the spots to pack explosives for the desired result.
“Three to four floors will have explosives,” Ponlingam added.
The firm said it has the expertise, having carried out similar works in Mumbai and other parts of the country. In Tamil Nadu, they have demolished bridges and large overhead water tanks, but this is the first time such a tall building is brought down in the city.
On whether rains would affect the demolition, Ponlingam said while showers would not derail the work, lightning could affect the plans.
Meanwhile, euthanasia of the ill-fated structure has brought relief among residents of the neighbourhood in Rajaraja Nagar and Thangaraja Nagar where life has changed for hundreds of families ever since its twin collapsed two years ago. Due to the threat the standing tower posed, the adjoining government school has been functioning from the premises of another smaller school. Similar was the fate for nearby residents. “The building has been an eyesore and we wanted it to be demolished,” says Rajendran, who owns a juice shop.
There were many sombre faces at the site on Tuesday - the families which have bought apartments in these two structures. The demolition while being a spectacle, would not have any further damage on the buyers, said Ratna Mishra, one of the unfortunate persons who had invested her hard-earned money in the project.
“It is not our fault, we bought the flats after due diligence. Yet, we don’t get support from the government or courts. Seventy-six of us have invested our hard-earned money,” she said. Mishra had bought an apartment for `45 lakh, for which she is paying `53,000 EMI, even after a tower collapsed and the other is being demolished.
“We have to pay the banks for an asset that does not exist. And now, the banks have started issuing notices to us,” she rued. Having exhausted all possible options from moving the government and courts to even approaching the RBI, Mishra said they were left only with prayers on their lips.
Once the building is demolished, the issue would be the share in the property. They buyers have undivided shares while the builder also owns some part of the property. “I don’t have any idea about what next,” says Mishra.