New Delhi: Hours before the much-awaited demolition of Noida’s Supertech twin towers Sunday, preparations by police and officials are well-underway and crowds of people have started gathering in the area with fear in hearts but lured by the excitement of witnessing this once in a lifetime marvel. The two towers were found to be built in violation of multiple construction regulations.
“Areas around the twin tower have been blocked so that no vehicles can enter. This blockage will be in place from 7 am to 5 pm on Sunday. The Noida expressway will be closed 15 minutes before the blast. After the blast, when the smoke is settled, it will be opened,” said Noida DCP Traffic Ganesh Shah.
Shah also talked about the diversions and how this information can be received through helpline numbers.
“One diversion will be between Mahamaya flyover and Noida Sector 37 and another between Pari Chowk and Greater Noida. Google will also be giving auto updates about all the diversions. We also give details through helpline numbers about each and every area here and the arrangements in place,” he added.
On being asked about the preparations made for the emergency situation, he said that “emergency routes” were already planned and “mock drills” performed in the early morning so that officials would be ready to carry person/vehicle/other things, which might get affected due to the blast.
“Civilians can take a U-turn if they want to go to the other side of Noida. One good thing here is that all roads are good and well-connected, so travellers can find their way away from barricades. As this area (the road straight ahead of the towers) will be closed for vehicles, so that the media can get good footage,” Shah further added.
‘Hope no one faces any problem’
There were many people from within and outside Noida who had assembled to watch the spectacle. One such person was Gaurav Kaul Gupta, a resident of Noida. He had brought his 2-year-old and 9-year-old sons so that they could see the Supertech towers coming down.
“There is fear but I hope no one faces any problem. Newspapers have been saying that there might be an earthquake after the demolition but I don’t believe that because the CEO and the director who are handling the project had assured nothing like that would happen. They are experienced and I have heard they also similarly demolished a building successfully in Kerala,” he said.
For Gaurav, the fascination is in the fact that two towers (107-metre and 97-metre) are taller than the Qutub Minar and he finds it “very interesting”. He expects, when the time of demolition nears, more people will come to watch it.
“Some people had said in the court that it should be given to the elderly but I believe they should be destroyed because they are not safe. The distance between the buildings is 9 metres instead of 20 metres and therefore in the situation of a future earthquake, it can harm the nearby buildings,” he added.
Naresh Singh, a Ghaziabad resident, had also travelled all the way from his home alone early in the morning to see it.
“There were not a lot of people when I came. They started coming at 9-9:30am. The police also started barricading at 8:30 am. Now, about 20-25 officers are standing in each corner,” he said.
A ‘first time’ experience
Naresh was excited because it was his “first time” where he was going to see something like this.
“The blast will happen right before our eyes. This will give me a lot of pleasure (anand). I am fearful of what would happen, but courageous at the same time. If others can come to see it, why should I hide like a rat?” he told ThePrint.
According to reports, the work had begun in the morning with the evacuation of around 5,000 residents of Emerald Court (15 towers) and adjoining ATS Village (25 towers) societies in Sector 93A. Nearly 3,000 vehicles were also removed and 150-200 pets were taken away by the residents for the day. Earlier, through a combined effort of resident welfare groups, non-profit organisations, and Noida authority officials, strays in the area were cleared and housed at animal rescue centres till the end of the demolition process.
Several safety measures are put in place with Noida airspace being declared as “no-fly zone” for drones, hundreds of police and traffic personnel deployed, ambulances on standby, and beds reserved in hospitals in the vicinity.
(Edited by Siddarth Muralidharan)