On January 11 and 12, four luxury waterfront apartments in Kochi's Maradu municipality were reduced to rubble following a 2019 Supreme Court order which found the buildings to be constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone norms.
While the demolitions undertaken by Mumbai-based Edifice Engineering and Chennai-based Vijay Steels, went well with some minor glitches, the job is far from over as the Kerala government now faces the giant task of disposing of the concrete debris that has been generated.
According to sources, the demolition of H2O Holy Faith, Alfa Serene, Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram has generated a combined total of 76,250 tonnes of debris. Most of it will now be reused to make construction material, says Achyuth Joseph, partner of Aluva-based Prompt Enterprises, which has bagged the contract to dispose of the debris for Rs 35 lakh.
"This 76,000 tonnes of debris also includes 1,000 tonnes of TMT steel bars and other metal, which we term as reinforcements. These will be picked up by the demolition contractors to be reused in civil works," adds Achyuth.
With the reinforcements gone, the rest of the debris is concrete rubble, which will be reduced to standardised pieces in a process known as downsizing, he explained. The pieces will then be used as construction material, by turning them into hollow bricks, paving tiles, etc.
"Building debris is termed as concrete and demolition (C and D) waste. This kind of waste is relatively new in India. In Kerala, this is probably the first time that we are dealing with C and D waste. We will be sending this waste to our crushing units or to private crushers, from where it will be moulded into hollow bricks or used as paving tiles," Achyuth adds.
According to reports, the crusher employed to powder the debris is Rubble Master, an Austrian import, which is expected to reach Kochi on January 20.
Achyuth also added that the debris from Jain Coral Cove — the largest building among the 4 Maradu apartments demolished — and H20 Holy Faith, the first apartment demolished — are fully concrete waste. However, the other two apartments also contain red bricks, which need to be segregated.
"H20 and Jain have only concrete waste and this can be entirely used for paving tiles and hollow bricks. With Alfa Serene and Golden, the buildings had red bricks. Red bricks cannot be used as construction material. They can, however, be segregated and used for road formation (laying roads) and for filling up basements," Achyuth says.
With the Supreme Court ordering the state government to clear the demotion rubble (including what has fallen into the backwaters) within the next 138 days, the debris contractor is now waiting for the demolition contractors to clear out the reinforcements.
"Once they remove the steel bars and other bits, we only need 25 days to clear the debris from the sites," Achyuth added.
The debris will be temporarily relocated to 8 acres of land, identified by Prompt Enterprises in Aroor and Chanthiroor, Alappuzha, from where they will be packed off to crushers for downsizing.