While the demolition of the illegally built twin towers in Noida grabbed eyeballs and media attention, metres away from the skyscrapers families watched the fall outside their huts on Sunday.
Ahead of the demolition, over 5,000 people from Emerald Court and ATS Village societies were evacuated from their houses. While the residents from the high-rise neighbouring buildings were shifted to temporary accommodation for their safety, these families in huts claimed they were left behind.
Apex (32 storeys) and Ceyane (29 storeys) were gone in 12 seconds on Sunday, in the carefully choreographed and meticulously executed demolition, the biggest such exercise in the country so far.
50-year-old Hansraj, his wife and their daughters packed their food and towels on Sunday noon. The family said that nobody asked them to shift to any other place and were only asked to stay on a ground across the nearby road.
“We have been living on the side of the flyover for more than 10-12 years now. I remember when the builders started the Supertech construction. I never cared for the building or the violations. We only found out about the demolition a few days ago. I didn’t know it would happen,” he told The Indian Express.
“Nobody approached us or asked us to move. A few policemen showed up in the morning and asked us to stay on the ground across the road,” he added.
Hansraj’s wife Lekha said that she prepared the food for the family in the morning and would eat once the demolition starts.
“Where else will we go? We will just sit on the ground. I prepared meals early in the morning for the family. We will eat our food once the demolition starts,” she said.
Meanwhile, police personnel deployed near their huts said that the family would move around 1:30-2 pm and will be provided food and water.
However, the family stayed near the barricades during the demolition and soon came back to their hut and locked it.
The report said that one Reshma and her sister-in-law Lekha, who also lived near the site of demolition, said that she came to know about people being taken to clubhouses, but nobody came to them since they live near the flyover.
“Seeing the media and police, I thought the police would push us out but they have not. They told us we can stay here and go to the ground around 2-2.30 pm. We might go to the park nearby because my son wants to see the demolition,” Reshma said.
A senior officer from the Noida Authority said that the flyover was a safe space for the media to see the demolition and the families were informed days ago about the demolition and health risks. He added that most of the families from the huts had left and only a handful were left.