Kochi: At 11.19 am on Saturday, Holy Faith H2O became just a heap of dust. For the first time in Kerala’s history, Holy Faith, a 19-storeyed apartment complex, was demolished in just seconds using explosives in a highly controlled manner.
As the flats went down, there was a huge roar from people who had assembled in large numbers around the flats even as a cloud of dust enveloped a vast area.
The debris fell just meters short of the backwaters around the flats.
At 10.30 am, the first siren rang bringing road, water and air traffic around the area to a halt. At 11.05 am, the second siren rang which indicated that all arrangements have been completed. The third siren rang at 11.17 am indicating that the building was ready to be demolished.
There was a delay of 19 minutes as it took time for officials to clear the sites. Later, a company spokesperson said that said it took 5 seconds for the complex to be razed.
Minutes after the demolition, the fire force personnel rushed in to spray water to control the dust which went beyond the 200-metres prescribed zone.
The next complex in the queue to be demolished was Alpha Serene.
On Friday, the police and local authorities went house to house around the controversial flats to ensure that all residents have evacuated their homes after switching off the electricity and gas supply.
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code on land, water and in the air will be imposed at the evacuation zone of illegal apartment complexes from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and vehicular traffic around the area would be stopped. Boat services near the complexes have also been suspended.
Security had been beefed up at the site and the waterways were manned by boats of coastal police, land by 500 policemen plus 300 striker parties, for crowd control and traffic control.
On Thursday and Friday, experts filled the two flats with explosives. Hospitals in Kochi have been kept on high alert.
A total of 344 flats would literally bite the dust following the Supreme Court order last year that the four apartment buildings – Jains Coral Cove, Alfa Serene, H20 Holy Faith and Golden Kayaloram – be demolished for violation of coastal regulation zone rules. On October 25, the Supreme Court had asked the Kerala government to give Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to Maradu flat owners. The Kerala government had informed that it has so far disbursed Rs 10 crore compensation.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered the demolition of a high-end resort abutting the Vembanad Lake for violating coastal rules and regulations.