Today, we are encountered with multiple challenges of depleting natural resources, shortage of work force in urban areas and global commitment of reducing carbon footprint. All these challenges which require immediate corrective actions on war footing have made the task of providing affordable houses to the needy even more difficult. Further, this task has to be accomplished on an urgent basis as the growing number of slums in the urban areas pose serious social and health challenges to the entire society. Conventional methods of construction have not only strained our present resources but have also put an undue pressure on their equitable distribution for competing needs, significant among which is the use of water. The use of cement, sand and bricks has for centuries been the central cause of pollution and in this context, it is pertinent to explore alternatives to achieve a drastic balance in the ecology of sustenance.
So, task is cut out for the government – to provide sustainable, safe & affordable technological solutions for faster & cost-effective construction of houses suited to various geo-climatic and hazard conditions of the country.
Therefore, there is urgent need for out of the box thinking as the conventional construction systems are primarily a cast in situ, known for slow pace construction system besides being energy intensive and dependent on natural resources which cannot meet the present requirement of housing shortage. We are left with no option but to adopt new construction systems which are fast track and at the same time which meet functional & structural requirements, ensuring a paradigm shift from a slow track system to fast track emerging systems. Though there are many technologies available globally, we need to be careful in selection and evaluation of acceptable contemporary technologies to suit the Indian specification including utilization of local available resources, wherever feasible.
Housing for All by 2022 is an ambitious program not only in size but also in terms of pace of execution. Such an ambitious task requires multi-faceted approach and significant amongst it is the role of technology, which can ensure speed, quality & sustainability. Technological innovation is also needed to reduce resource and energy consumption especially with proliferating urbanisation and urban footprint.
Also, this program should be treated as an opportunity to develop our own technology to build houses to suit our environment instead of borrowing ideas from elsewhere. We also have some of the best IITs and NITs who can do this task much better than many of the foreign counterparts. Though the time available for developing technology to meet the 2022 deadline is limited but such technology, if at all we are able to develop one, would become handy to meet our future needs. After all, providing houses to the needy is not one time a task and it will be a permanent program.