12-hour work days, 7 days a week: Clean-up begins at Supertech twin towers

The spectacle of the Supertech twin towers being demolished over, it is now up to roughly 120 men and women to clear the site.

The demolition on August 28 left debris of 80,000 tonnes, with Edifice Engineering helming the process to remove at least 30,000 tonnes. Work pertaining to the repair of a boundary wall and establishment of separation between the demolition site and buildings in the vicinity is also being carried out.

With excavators and cranes, workers are busy clearing the mountain of rubble, where steel is being separated from concrete to be processed at a concrete waste plant.

Salwinder Masilh (32) is tasked with constructing a temporary barrier between the towers closest to the demolition spot, including Aster-1 in Emerald Court. Working in the construction industry has taken him across the country. A resident of Gurdaspur in Punjab, Masilh came to Noida five months ago to begin the preparatory work.

“Some 25 of us were tasked with wrapping the floors in geotextile fabric. We were provided with harnesses for this process; harness se latak ke kapda chadaya tha, taaki blast ke time dhool aur pathar ke tudke na phalein. I also covered the towers closest to the spot with the same geotextile fabric along with other workers,” Masilh said. Two towers in Emerald Court, Aster-1 and Aster-2, were closest to the twin towers, having around 10 floors. The towers were covered with geotextile fabric to mitigate dust and debris.

Masilh’s day begins at 6 am. After finishing breakfast, he leaves for work a little before 8 am along with his co-workers. They have been placed in rooms rented in a building in Gejha, 10 minutes from the site. “We live in rented rooms in a building which the company has provided for us. Humare khane ka bhi bandobast hai, but after work, we sometimes eat outside as well. Hotel se kha lete hain,” he said.

On Monday, he and his co-workers were at the spot setting up the scaffolding. After completing a 12-hour shift, the workers wrap up around 8 pm and head home. Masilh works seven days a week, and on Sundays, the workers get off early. Masilh says he likes to rest as much as he can – he and his friends sometimes go out to a market nearby if they get the time.

Masilh has been working in this industry for the past 10-12 years. He has spent at least four months on any given project, helping him gather vast experience. “Before I came to Noida, I was working at a gas plant in Bihar. We had to take down a large chimney, which took 3-4 months. It took seven of us to bring it down,” he said.

Asked if he gets time to visit home, he said, “I take breaks if I can between different jobs. The last break I took was for 10 days, but sometimes it can be longer.” Masilh takes up as many projects as he can through the year and has travelled to Rajasthan, Mumbai and Gujarat for work.

Masilh expects to wrap up work in a few weeks’ time, after which he will head home to his parents, wife and two young boys in Gurdaspur. “I like my job and it pays well,” he said, adding that he earns roughly Rs 35,000 a month.

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