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NEW DELHI: Indian authorities demolished in less than 10 seconds two illegally constructed skyscrapers on Sunday, making them the tallest structures ever pulled down in the South Asian country.

More than 3,700 kg of explosives were used at about 2:30 pm, authorities said, with the collapse of the twin towers — each nearly 100-meters tall — resulting in a wide plume of dust debris, as crowds watched from rooftops on nearby high -rise buildings. The operation lasted nine seconds.

India’s Supreme Court ordered the demolition of the buildings in the Noida area last year, after judges ruled that the builder, real estate company Supertech, had violated a series of building regulations and fire-safety norms.

After more than a decade of legal battle, local residents who petitioned for the towers to be razed celebrated their victory on Sunday.

“Today is the time for joy,” 80-year-old Uday Bhan Singh Teotia, who was part of the original petitioner group, told Arab News. “After fighting for ten years and going through all the pains of pursuing the case, we have achieved our goal.”

“This gives the message to the builder and to all those who violate rules.”

About 7,000 people had vacated their apartments near the blast site, with some raising concerns about the pollution caused by the dust and debris from the demolition.

“We are happy that the towers have been demolished. We fought for it,” Gaurav Malhotra, who lives in the area surrounding the twin towers, told Arab News.

“Our biggest worry is the debris and after demolition pollution.”

Rajiv Mehta, secretary of a housing society located close to the demolished structures, told Arab News that the “challenge is how to contain the dust pollution and its impact on the general health of the people.”

“We have made arrangements for sprinkling water in and around the housing society,” Mehta said.

A sudden and intense increase in pollution in the area is to be expected following the demolition, according to Dr. Ashish Jain, a senior consultant for respiratory medicine at Delhi’s Max Hospital.

“They may rise significantly and be worrisome in a short span of time,” Jain told Arab News, adding that the polluted air could lead to some health issues, including skin rashes, allergies, itching and breathlessness.

Other residents of Noida are worried about how the demolition may impact the foundation of nearby structures.

“There is an element of risk,” Shreyasi Singh, resident of a housing society that shares a border with the twin towers, told Arab News.

“I hope we get some engineering tests about the impact on the foundation.”

Singh was among those in India who questioned the need for the major demolition.

“I feel they should have converted the building into an urban garden,” she said. “Some imaginative way of using these two buildings could have been devised and the space could have been used in a productive way.”


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