High-rise luxury apartment apartment Holy Faith H2O is brought to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/Prakash Elamakkara)
High-rise luxury apartment apartment Holy Faith H2O is brought to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/Prakash Elamakkara)
Water-front residential apartments Alpha Serene, left and center, and Holy Faith H2O, right, stand before they are scheduled to be razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Water-front residential apartments Alpha Serene, left and center, and Holy Faith H2O, right, stand before they are scheduled to be razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Alpha Serene, a water-front residential apartment, is razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Alpha Serene, a water-front residential apartment, is razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Alpha Serene, a water-front residential apartment, is razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Alpha Serene, a water-front residential apartment, is razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
The first tower of water-front residential apartment Alpha Serene implodes moments before the second tower, on right, is blasted using controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
The first tower of water-front residential apartment Alpha Serene implodes moments before the second tower, on right, is blasted using controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Water-front residential apartments Alpha Serene, left and center, and Holy Faith H2O, right, stand before they were razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Water-front residential apartments Alpha Serene, left and center, and Holy Faith H2O, right, stand before they were razed to the ground by controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
The second tower of water-front residential apartment Alpha Serene is demolished using controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
The second tower of water-front residential apartment Alpha Serene is demolished using controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Fire and rescue personnel look at the debris from their boats after water-front residential apartment Alpha Serene was demolished using controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Fire and rescue personnel look at the debris from their boats after water-front residential apartment Alpha Serene was demolished using controlled implosion in Kochi, India, Saturday, Jan. 11. 2020. Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed down two high-rise luxury apartments using controlled implosion in one of the largest demolition drives in India involving residential complexes for violating environmental norms. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)

KOCHI — Authorities in southern Kerala state on Saturday razed two luxury high-rise apartment buildings for violating environmental norms, in one of India's largest demolition drives involving residential complexes.

The razing of the illegal apartments built very close to a posh lakeside in the state’s Maradu district took place after a court last year ordered their demolition for violating laws that prohibit construction within a certain distance from the sea, rivers, lakes or other water bodies.

The apartments were a pale shadow of their former luxurious appearance after demolition agencies chipped away at the buildings for two months, reducing them to a bare skeletal frame. The buildings came crashing down in seconds as a thick cloud of smoke spread to around 200 metres.

Almost 2 000 people in nearby residential areas were evacuated prior to the demolition, which was witnessed by scores of people who recorded the event on their cellphones.

The remaining two buildings will be demolished on Sunday.

The court order last year had come as a shock to more than 300 apartment owners. When all legal options to halt demolition were exhausted, they resorted to protests and hunger strikes. Finally, when the administration snapped the power supply, they were forced to vacate their homes.

Hours before the demolition, some of the residents flocked to the site for one last view of their former homes.

Environmental experts have raised concerns that the demolition of the four structures will have a huge impact on Vembanadu Lake, which is an ecologically sensitive area.

AP