Two illegally-constructed skyscrapers near New Delhi have been demolished, with thousands of kilos of explosives razing them to the ground in less than 10 seconds.

The apartment blocks on the outskirts of India‘s capital city were the tallest structures ever taken down in the country in such a short time.

Thousands of people had to be moved from their homes before the demolition, and crowds watched the spectacle from nearby rooftops, cheering as the 103-metre (338ft) tall towers fell.

More than 3,700kg (8,100lbs) of explosives were used on the 32-storey and 29-storey buildings – but placed strategically to avoid damage to the surrounding area in Noida city.

“Largely, everything is OK,” said government administrator Ritu Maheshwari after the demolition. “It happened as expected.”

Water sprinklers dampened down the huge dust clouds from the Apex and Ceyane towers, and some buildings had been covered with white plastic sheeting to protect them.

The buildings had not yet been occupied.

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The order to destroy them came from the Supreme Court following a lengthy legal battle which ended when the court found their construction violated multiple building and fire safety regulations.

The court also said the construction was illegal because the builder did not receive mandatory consent from other apartment owners in the area.

Authorities plan to use some of the expected 80,000 tons of rubble to fill the site, and they intend to recycle the rest.

One man who lived near the site had booked hotel rooms to keep his twin boys – one of whom suffers with asthma – away.

Mechanical engineer Sudeep Roy said: “It is best to stay away from the blast site for 24 hours because the air will get toxic, and we don’t know how it can impact our health.”