NEW DELHI: Rural houses being built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin could soon be earthquake resistant and weatherproof. The Institute of Steel Development and Growth (INSDAG), a non-profit organisation under the Ministry of Steel, has developed a new earthquake-proof, all-weather house. A model house has been built at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in Hyderabad.
The Rural Development Ministry has proposed to include it in its bouquet of housing units under the flagship scheme. A circular issued by Gaya Prasad, Director (Rural Housing), to all secretaries in the department said, “The house design developed by lNSDAG may be included in the bouquet of house designs given to the beneficiaries of PMAY-G at the time of sanction of the house enabling them to choose and decide the house design he/she wants to use in the construction of the house.”
The Ministry of Steel had earlier written to the rural ministry, asking them to construct the newly-developed houses for the Awas Yojana beneficiaries. According to the letter, written by Ruchika Chaudhry Govil, joint secretary in the Ministry of Steel, the newly-designed house can withstand Zone V (most severe) weather conditions, including earthquake tremors and coastal winds. It can be built on sites having rock, medium or soft soil.
The house has two rooms, a kitchen and a toilet. The space in the house can be increased or decreased depending upon the occupant’s wish by virtue of a folding door. “The roof and outer parts of the house are made with ferro-cement and this is one of the main reasons why it is adaptable to adverse weather conditions and all types of soils,” said Professor Bratish Dasgupta of INSDAG.
“The INSDAG has already applied for the patent of the design and that has been accepted by the competent authority,” Dasgupta said.
Rural ministry officials seem elated with the development. “We were very happy with the new design. We always strive to give the best to people. The only thing bothering us is the cost of construction of the new houses. We can make minor adjustments to the budget. But if it goes way more than the budget, we will face difficulties in implementing them,” said an official.
However, Govil has already addressed these concerns in her letter. “The cost of the rural house having a plinth area of 256 feet can be constructed at an estimated amount of `2 lakh.” The rural ministry currently constructs houses under the scheme at a cost of `2.17 lakh.