Economy Jun 7, 2013
Is it possible to build a house for six lakhs that is durable, livable and could be produced on a mass scale?
The engineers and professors of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) have shown that its possible to do this. They hope that this model will be followed by the government of India for the large scale public housing shortage for the poor in this country.
But what miracle material is the house made of that makes its price seem like pittance when real estate every where is running northwards? In an NDTV report, the engineers explained that the house is made of gypsum reinforced with glass fibre. This technology limits the cost of building to just Rs 1250 per square foot. Not just that, in this process it is not required to plaster the ceiling, walls or the staircase.
And the clinching point for this house? A 500 square foot flat with two bedrooms, a hall and a kitchen can be assembled in just a month - a factor that could bring in a revolution in public housing in a country riddled with delays in public infrastructure building.
But is there enough gypsum in the country to sustain such construction on a mass scale?
Speaking to NDTV, Devdas Menon, one of the IIT Madras professors associated with this project, said, "The fertiliser industry waste itself is around 40 million tonnes, building up annually and there are many other sources of gypsum. I think for a long time we can sustain with this kind of construction. We are already talking to potential private sector builders. What we need is large number of plants all over the country and trained workers to correctly build it and we hope to provide that support."
This is an Australian technology that the IIT team have been researching for 10 years and a prototype house has been put up at the IIT campus in Chennai. At present the team depends on a factory in Cochin to deliver the gypsum boards but very soon they will go for tie ups with industrial houses for mass scale production.
The professors assured that the building is as sturdy as any other concrete building - in fact probably it is more sturdy than any other building. One can build up to six floors using this technology, added the same report.
Real estate builders, are you listening?
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