NOIDA, India (AFP) – Two illegally built residential high-rises are slated for demolition near India’s capital this weekend in a rare crackdown on developers who cut corners and swindle unsuspecting home-buyers.
A controlled implosion will bring down the 100-metre-high “Twin Towers” on New Delhi’s outskirts after a Supreme Court ruling last year found the structures were built unlawfully in collusion with local authorities.
Thousands of anxious residents – along with dozens of stray dogs – are being evacuated from the vicinity, but the crew in charge of the knock-down said safety was assured.
“It’s a beautiful feat of engineering,” said demolition team leader Joe Brinkmann, according to the Times of India newspaper.
“Just pack your bags and enjoy the day.”
The towers will be fitted with around 3,500kg of explosives and are expected to come down in a matter of seconds.
The world’s fastest-growing major economy has seen a construction boom in recent years but developers often cut corners with impunity.
Eyeing fat profits and capitalising on weak regulation, companies often build extra floors or towers and use sub-standard materials, while officials are bribed to keep quiet.
Middle-class home-buyers fall into the trap of investing their life savings in projects that often never see the light of day, and get drawn into protracted legal battles against powerful builders.
In Delhi’s suburbs of Noida and Greater Noida, it is estimated that more than 100 residential high-rise towers have been abandoned by the builders, making these areas look like ghost cities.
‘Burning their fingers’
Uday Bhan Singh Teotia, one of a group of residents whose case against private developer Supertech led to the demolition order, said the destruction of the buildings will be a vindication of his legal battle.
“The two new towers that they constructed were blocking everything – our air and sunlight and all,” Teotia, who lives close to the structures, told AFP.