Life after the implosion: Debris tourism in Maradu

People are flocking to the demolition sites to look at the remains of imploded skyscrapers

Kochi: Even as the authorities have successfully completed the two-day Maradu implosion, flow of visitors to the suburban town of Kochi still continues. Every day, hundreds of people visit the debris sites of four residential apartment complexes to have a glimpse of the remains of the ill-fated buildings.

How the skyscrapers were knocked down with such precision that it fell exactly within the compound, not damaging the adjacent buildings and the backwaters, surprised Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Muvattupuzha who came to visit the demolition sites.

“Many people, even from other districts are visiting the sites. Those passing through NH 66 take diversion from Kundanoor junction to watch debris of Holy Faith H2O, which can be seen from the Kundanoor - Thevara Bridge. In the evenings, people including families, school and college students throng in front of the debris sites to take pictures,” said Joseph, a resident of the area.

Debris sites have become an itinerary of the tourist boats passing through the backwaters.

Dust poses serious health hazards

Though the surgical precision implosion of luxury apartment complexes could be completed successfully, the real challenge has not yet been addressed effectively.

Many families residing near the knocked down apartments Holy Faith H2O, Alfa Serene, Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram, who were evacuated ahead of the demolition, could not return due to thick carpet of dust in the entire area. The trees, vehicles and houses are covered with dust.

“Cleaning the dust-covered house is of no use. Minutes after washing, the billowing dust from the debris site will enter the house. We can’t even cook food. Children, elderly and those with pulmonary diseases will have to wait few more weeks to return to their homes, until the debris from the demolition sites is cleared,” said Abhilash N, residing in the neighbourhood of Alfa Serene Apartments.

Several residents are complaining of headache, fever, sneezing and skin allergy and coughing. The health department conducted medical camp for neighbours of Alfa Serene Apartments.

Meanwhile, the State Pollution Control Board has served notice to the Maradu municipality asking to take immediate measures to contain dust menace. The Board has received several complaints against the failure of civic authorities in controlling dust from debris. The PCB has also instructed to take measures for removal of debris of Alfa Serene Apartments that fell in Vembanad Lake.

It was found that presence of dust particles in atmosphere in Maradu increased by nearly five folds in the two days of implosion.

The municipal authorities started wetting the huge heaps of debris while the private firm contracted for its removal started segregating the steel and concrete.

More than 75,000 tonnes of debris are piled up in the four demolition sites and its removal will not be an easy task, with narrow roads and thickly populated area.

Prompt Enterprises, the private firm contracted for debris removal has promised to clear the rubbish in 70 days.

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