More than 4,000 residents and 1,000 homes affected by Upper Bukit Timah bomb disposal operation, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

More than 4,000 residents and 1,000 homes affected by Upper Bukit Timah bomb disposal operation

The proprietor of Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf restaurant will lose $8,000 on Tuesday - a day’s worth of earnings - as he closes shop for the detonation of a World War II era bomb nearby.

But Mr Subramaniyam Nallappan, 57, won’t be able to stay home either as he is one of more than 4,000 affected residents who will have to evacuate their homes when the 100kg projectile is detonated on Tuesday.

The Straits Times understands more than 1,000 homes are also affected.

The bomb was found last Wednesday at a construction site at Upper Bukit Timah Road and will be blown up there, as it is too dangerous to move it.

This is the largest evacuation exercise involving the detonation of a WWII relic.

The police said residents of The Linear, Hazel Park, Hazel Park Terrace houses, and those at Block 154 Gangsa Road, as well as shophouses in Upper Bukit Timah Road, must evacuate during the disposal operation from 8am to 7pm on Tuesday.

Mr Subramaniyam said: “I have no choice but to close my restaurant, but I’m quite relieved our safety is being taken seriously.”

He is also a resident at Hazel Park condominium, one of the affected homes, and will be spending the day at the Singapore Zoo with his wife and two children.

He said: “Since this is happening, my family decided to take a self-declared day off.”

His neighbour, Jal Yoga, is expected to lose $11,000, said studio manager Mr Abir Singh. He said they have to refund 250 clients as they have to cancel 10 classes on Tuesday.

Said Mr Singh: “We had to activate all our staff on Monday to call each member about the cancelled classes. We are right in front of the construction site, so I feel a bit unsafe.”

As a precaution, a Shell service station nearby will remove fuel from its underground tanks and close the station temporarily, said a spokesman. The station will re-open on Thursday.

Staff at the Shell petrol station in Upper Bukit Timah Road draining out fuel and adding nitrogen gas for safety reasons on Sept 25. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

HDB residents at Block 154 Gangsa Road learnt of the detonation plan in a town hall at Greenridge Secondary School on Sunday.

One of the residents, Mr Wong Kwet Phin, 70, said some raised questions about who would foot the bill for property damage at the meeting which around 400 people attended.

In an advisory to residents seen by ST, the police warned residents to keep their windows open as there is a chance of them shattering from the blast.

The former interpreter said the temporary holding area at Senja-Cashew Community Club may be too crowded, though his main concern is for the safety of his glass fish tank and its 10 inhabitants - a gift from his late brother.

Mr Wong Kwet Phin’s pet fishes are a gift from his late brother. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

“It is for me to remember my brother… Hopefully nothing will happen to it,” he said.

Another resident, Garry Ong, 51, said he would likely also leave his two-year-old cat Kristabella behind.

Mr Garry Ong will leave his pet cat behind as his family evacuates the flat for the detonation of the bomb. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

But Mr Ong’s biggest gripe with Tuesday’s disposal is the disruption to his 12-year-old daughter’s preparations for her PSLE, set to begin on Thursday.

He said: “We don’t want to take a chance that the holding area will have a proper place for her to really sit down and study. So my wife is bringing her somewhere to study. Maybe a cafe.”

Mr Ong, who lives with his wife and children, said he had trouble sleeping after learning about the bomb on Sunday.

He said: “Since it is already out, there is a possibility it can go off any time.”

Residents are instructed by police to attach a tag on their gates after they have evacuated before the detonation on Tuesday. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

The bomb was found at the construction site for The Myst condominium during excavation works, said the police on Sunday.

The area within a 200m radius of the explosive will be cordoned off for the detonation, they added.

The 100kg projectile - believed to be one of the largest wartime bombs unearthed in Singapore - will be disposed of by the Singapore Armed Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

The bomb was found at The Myst condominium construction site in Upper Bukit Timah Road on Sept 20. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

On Tuesday, between 11am and 7pm, SMRT bus services 67, 176, 178, 961, 970, 979, and 983 will skip several bus-stops affected by the temporary closure of Upper Bukit Timah Road, due to the detonation of the relic, said SMRT on Monday.

The management committees of The Linear and Hazel Park declined to comment on their evacuation plans when contacted by ST.

City Developments, the developer of The Myst, also declined to answer queries and directed ST to the authorities instead.

Surrounding roads - the Bukit Panjang Flyover between Woodlands Road and Petir Road, and Upper Bukit Timah Road between Petir Road and Cashew Road - will also be closed from 11am to 7pm.

Though the discovery of wartime munitions is not uncommon, the size of this bomb and the scale of the evacuation are unusual.

In 2016, a 100kg bomb relic was found and disposed of at a Mandai construction site. No civilian evacuations were reported.

In 2019, 600 residential units were evacuated for a 50kg World War II bomb found and detonated near the former site of popular nightclub Zouk.

In 2021, another World War II bomb relic was found at a temple construction site in Geylang, prompting the evacuation of 100 people.

Another bomb was found in 2020 at a corner terraced unit in Bishan but only 12 households were affected.

  • Additional reporting by Kolette Lim, Ang Qing, Christie Chiu and Vihanya Rakshika