H2O Holy Faith apartment demolished in Kochi’s Maradu, razed down in seconds

It came crashing down in seconds as the clock struck 11.18 am on Saturday, January 11. H20 Holy Faith is the first of the four apartment complexes in Kochi’s Maradu Municipality that was demolished on Saturday, as per an order by the Supreme Court last year, for violating environmental norms. The second apartment complex – the twin towers of Alfa Serene – will be demolished in a few minutes.

Mumbai-based Edifice Engineering demolished H2O Holy Faith, which had 91 apartments and 19 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. The main reason why the building – and three other apartment complexes – were ordered to be demolished is that they were built too close to the Vembanad lake, and could affect the environment. Therefore the process of demolition had to take this into account before the building was brought down.


Mid-implosion

212.4 kg of explosives were used to implode H2O Holy Faith, and the explosives were placed on six floors. The Navy’s helicopter hovered nearby to monitor the demolition, as there had been apprehensions about the safety of the Kundanoor bridge located near the apartments.

The demolition was witnessed by scores of people – Maradu residents who took the day off to watch the demolition, and people from Kozhikode, and some even from Malaysia. The demolition process started with the first siren going off around 10.45 am. As soon as the second siren went off at 11.10 am, all vehicle movement nearby areas, even along the national highway nearby were stopped. And as soon as the third siren went off at 11.16 am, the building was brought down within a matter of seconds. Within milliseconds, a thick cloud of smoke spread to around 200 metres.


As the buildings imploded

The demolitions have raised the curiosity of people for two reasons: firstly, it’s a rare moment in India where luxury residential complexes have been demolished. Secondly, people are curious to know how the controlled implosion of such tall buildings work. 

H2O Holy Apartment had 77 families residing in it. By November 2019, all reisdents vacated their flats. As per the Supreme Court directive in October 2019, all residents will receive Rs 25 lakh each as interim compensation.

Hours before the demolition

It was the last few emotional moments for the people who had once occupied the building. Hours before the demolition, many of the residents flocked to the sites of demolition, for one last view of their former homes, which then looked bare and sooty.

Around 8 am, prohibitory restrictions were imposed within 200 metre radius of these apartment buildings. Residents in the immediate areas of H2O Holy Faith and Alfa Serene buildings were evacuated. Traffic restrictions, too, came into place just a few hours before the demolition. National Highways — NH 966B and NH 66 — which pass through Kundanoor near the two apartments were closed 30 minutes prior to the demolition. Fire tenders and boats (near Vembanad lake) were on standby in case of emergency. Around 500 police personnel will be deployed at the sites.

Among the crowd of spectators were school children as well, as schools in the area were given holiday in view of the demolition. It was not just amusement of two buildings coming down that people who gathered in the area expressed. “The builders should have informed the homeowners of the legal complications or the environmental violation before handing it over to them,” one of them told Asianet, as many others chorused similar sentiments. “What is the guarantee that the laws will not be violated again? This should not be repeated,” said another person near the demolition site.

Many others hailed the Supreme Court’s May 2019 judgment, ordering the demolition of the four buildings, which were constructed on the banks of Vembanad lake, in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).

The demolition on Sunday

Jains Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram will be demolished on January 12 at 11 am and 2 pm respectively. Edifice Engineering will demolish the two 17-storeyed buildings. A total of 372.8 kg explosives will be used to bring down Jains Coral Cove and 18.8 kg explosives for Golden Kayaloram.

The same procedures, traffic regulations and restrictions will be imposed prior to the demolition. 

Read: Twin towers of illegal luxury apartment in Kochi's Maradu razed down in seconds

H2O Holy Apartment had 77 families residing in it. By November 2019, all reisdents vacated their flats. As per the Supreme Court directive in October 2019, all residents will receive Rs 25 lakh each as interim compensation.