What happened to the towers in front of our eyes is a wake-up call for those who do not believe in the Doomsday for the whole universe, opines Syyed Mansoor Agha
It was September 11, 2001 (9/11) when the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, collapsed on the ground like dead birds after two planes struck one 1,730 feet and another 1,362 feet high structures considered the sturdy marvel of engineering. It raised huge clouds of dust and smoke. The world was stunned, but did not awake to the warnings of the day of ‘Striking Moment’, when “the mountains will be like wool, fluffed up”: (The Qur’ān, 101:5)
9/11 was a sudden moment. On August 28, the world saw another two high structures collapsing in the same fashion in NOIDA, a suburban area of Delhi. Famous as “Noida Supertech Twin Towers” consisted of two residential multi-storey buildings – ‘The Apex Tower’ and ‘The Ceyane Tower’. The Apex had a height of 102 meters (335 ft) with 32 floors. The Cyane had 29 floors at 95 meters (312 ft). Both were under construction. The developers had planned in all 915 flats, 21 commercial shops, and two basements.
WHERE WENT WRONG?
M/s Supertech Limited was building the towers within “Emerald Court Residential Complex” being raised on land measuring 48,263 square meters (11.92 Acre) in Sector-93A NOIDA. The land was procured in November 2004, from NOIDA Authority to develop the complex. According to the approved plan, only 14 buildings of 9 or 10 floors with 3, 4 and 5 BHK flats were to be constructed. Construction work started in 2005.
As the work was in progress in 2009, the owner fell into lust and greed for more wealth. First added two more floors to each building, then added twin towers to accumulate more wealth. The Qur’ān has denounced this tendency as takasur which ultimately caused the doom of towers and the owners. The Qur’ān warns: “Competition in (worldly) increase diverts you (towards ultimate disaster – the hell.)” (102.1)
GREEN LAND USURPED
The company owners eyed a triangular piece of land, marked in the original plan as the green area within the “Emerald Court”. First, they conceived 24-storey residential structures; however, stopped at 29 and 32 storeys. The total value of luxurious apartments was around 500 crore, as estimated by the company’s chairman RK Arora. A big dream, driven of “more and more money”, ended in debris in a few seconds. Had the company struck to original plans, it did not have to face the massive disaster.
The original plan was modified thrice to increase the number of buildings and the residential units within. In March 2012 the plan was revised to include 15 buildings instead of 14 as the original. The number of floors for each building was increased to eleven from nine and the twin towers’ height to be increased to 40 from the initially planned 24 floors.
After the company usurped the triangular land for greenery and started constructing twin towers in 2012, some residents raised their voices against the violation of building bye-laws and norms of the original plan. Most residents did not cooperate to share the litigation expenses; however, 4 -5 remained stood fast and filed a petition in Allahabad High Court in April 2014. The petitioners made a fool-proof case with supporting documents. The High Court was convinced that the construction of the towers violated India’s National Building Code, 2005 (NBC) and ordered NOIDA Authority on 31 August 2021, to bring down both towers.
A Supreme Court bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah heard the appeal of M/S Supertech against HC order of demolition. The court took into account several points, including violation of building laws and the distance of the towers from nearby buildings. On August 31, 2021, the bench upheld the HC order. The Supreme Court also found that the towers were built illegally. The papers of approvals Supertech obtained from the NOIDA authorities were described as a result of the “collusion” and a “nefarious complicity” between the builders and officers of the NOIDA Authority. But strangely the officers went scot-free.
MAIN POINTS OF SC RULING
- Ordered NOIDA to plan and execute the demolition.
- Ordered Supertech Limited to pay demolition expenses. (It cost around 200 Crore).
- Refund (with 12% interest) the entire amount paid to purchase units in the towers.
- Pay Rs. 2 Crore as costs of the case to The Resident Association of the Emerald Court.
After SC orders, NOIDA engaged various Indian and foreign expert agencies to plan and execute the demolition order. It took months to plan and plant explosives inside holes drilled in specific parts of the building structures that support the towers. The technology used is called implosion. In this technique, the detonation starts from the ground floor upward and connects them with devices to ignite with a remote device. Around 3,700 kg high power explosives was used.
It took years to construct the structures. But the demolition was complete within a few seconds. A huge cloud of dust rose from the debris and now it is sitting on the ground and will take years to clear. What happened to the towers in front of our eyes is a wake-up call for those who do not believe in the Doomsday for the whole universe, as the Holy Book warns.