The residents of Maradu in Ernakulam, who witnessed the demolition of four tower complexes with almost festival-like fanfare a week ago, are now suffering from its aftermath as the whole area is engulfed by dust, accompanied by high-decibel noise.
The Pollution Control Board had advised the local administration to sprinkle water over the demolition sites to keep dust under control, but that has not happened yet. Also, no solution has been found for noise pollution.
Currently, water is doused only in areas where the separation of steel bars from the concrete waste is happening, but this is also not being done scientifically. Water is pumped from the lake and the polluted water is flowing back into it, creating serious pollution risks.
The slow pace of removing the wastes is also causing concern. It is estimated that the demolition of four complexes created concrete wastes of over 76,000 tonnes. But only 13 earth moving machines have been employed, with only some 200 workers engaged in the operation. Each site has only about four machines, which are grossly inadequate for the task.
At the site of Golden Kayaloram, the biggest of the four complexes, the work has not even started yet. The company responsible for handling the wastes has been given 45 days to separate the steel bars. Another 25 days are allowed for removing the entire waste.
But it seems highly unlikely that the work can be completed within the stipulated period. The longer it takes for the clearance, the harder it will be for the residents of the area.
The task of removing and recovering steel from the debris has been assigned to Vijay Steel, which had demolished the Alfa tower. The main company Edifice, which demolished the other three apartments of H2O, Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram, has handed over the clearance work to Vijay Steel, making it solely responsible for the operation.
The local municipality authorities have sought the help of the government in putting pressure on the waste removal company to speed up the work, but so far there has been no intervention.