At 11.44 am on Saturday, January 11, the twin towers of Alfa Serene were brought down using controlled implosion in Kochi’s Maradu municipality. This was done just minutes after another building – the H2O Holy Faith – was razed down as well for the same reason. The two buildings of Alfa Serene, each 16 floors high, were brought down one after the other, in a matter of seconds huge plumes of smoke, as scores of people watched it live.
Tamil Nadu-based Vijay Steels and Explosives demolished the twin towers of Alfa Serene, which had 80 apartments and 16 floors each. 343 kg of explosives were used for Alfa Serene, and the explosives were placed on seven floors. The agency employed the controlled implosion method to bring down the building and ensure the debris fall inward, without spilling over to the waterbody near them. This was done minutes after the successful demolition of H2O Holy Faith.
Now that the demolition is over, there are concerns that some concrete pieces of the second tower of Alfa Serene may have fallen into the lake nearby. It is yet to be estimated if the debris or concrete pieces have affected the buildings nearby. Unlike the H20 Holy Faith apartment building, there are around 130 houses and many commercial establishments near the twin towers of Alfa Serene. There were apprehensions earlier on how the demolition would affect these houses.
However, speaking to the media after assessing the areas, Kochi City Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare said that it was a deliberate move to allow some concrete pieces of the building to fall into the waterbody, in order to protect the houses nearby. "Some debris has gone into the water. But as planned, it will be removed. There is negligible damage to the waterbody and houses," he added.
A total of 70 families had occupied the residential building of Alfa Serene. According to the Supreme Court directive, all residents will receive Rs 25 lakh each as interim compensation.
How the implosion took place:
The demolitions were ordered by the Supreme Court last year for violating the coastal regulation zone rules – they were built too close to the Vembanad lake in Kochi. The four apartment complexes are – Jains Coral Cove built by Jain Housing and Construction Ltd, Golden Kayaloram built by KP Varkey & VS Builders, H2O Holy Faith built by Holy Faith Builders and Developers Pvt Ltd, and Alfa Serene by Alfa Ventures Private Ltd. Each apartment was priced between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1.5 crore in these four complexes, and residents were forced to move out after the apex court ordered the demolition.
From 11.44 am, in a matter of minutes, two towers of the illegal building Alfa Serene in Kochi was razed down. TN based Vijay Steels and Explosives was employed to demolish the building which had 80 apartments and 16 floors each. Visuals by @neethujoseph_15 and @Sreedevi_Jay pic.twitter.com/QtEIinJOcV— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) January 11, 2020
While H2O Holy Faith and Alfa Serene were demolished on Saturday, Jains Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram will be demolished on Sunday.
Soon after the demolition of H2O Holy Faith, Utkarsh Mehta of Edifice Engineering told the media that barring a compound wall, neither the houses nearby nor the Kundanoor bridge (near the demolished building) sustained any damages. The concrete debris of H2O Holy Faith fell within the confined perimeters and nothing has fallen into the waterbody, he said. However, the amount of debris that has fallen into water is yet to be estimated.
Currently, officials are working towards controlling the air pollution as a result of the demolition. Meanwhile, according to reports, the residents in the neighbouring areas, who were evacuated prior to the demolition, will be able to return to their houses around 2 pm.