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What’s required to fast-track Affordable Housing?

March 2019
India needs to build affordable homes faster—and technology is the only solution!

So far, there have been over 73 lakh houses sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Urban (PMAY-U), says Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. “Of this, 39 lakh plus houses have already been grounded and 16 lakh plus have already been completed and handed over.” (Read complete interview on www.ConstructionWorld.in)
So, what’s required for affordable housing?

The answer is obvious: Reduce the time frame for construction of affordable houses in the country. As PNVS Murthy, Vice President (Tech), NCC, says, “There needs to be a paradigm shift in technology transition using large-scale construction under the PMAY-U as an opportunity to get the best available construction technologies to construct houses in a shorter period of time with lower cost. We need to look for new, emerging, disaster-resilient, environment-friendly, cost-effective and speedy construction technologies.” In his view, mechanisation, using weld mesh in the required size, self-compacted concrete, monolithic construction by using aluminium formwork, precast construction and prefab houses will improve the speed of construction, particularly affordable homes.

Rahul Sabharwal, CEO, VBHC Value Homes, too, believes we need technologies that can help finish an apartment faster. “Innovations need to come in the area of tiling, to speed up the work and painting, where some of the initial work for putty could be done through robotics,” he says. “There have not been many advancements in these important areas of construction, which continue to take a long time.”

Further, according to SC Dixit, Executive Director, Shapoorji Pallonji Engineering & Construction, “The design-and-build project delivery system for affordable housing projects should be adopted by all public sector and government organisations. This system ensures bidders adopt the latest construction technologies that improve their cycle times, reduce manpower dependence, reduce material wastage and eliminate wasteful activities. This automatically brings in time and cost advantages, which are then passed on by the bidders to their clients. The adoption of such technologies leads to many additional benefits to clients, such as improved safety and quality and greater chances of project success.”

The industry need
The industry’s cry for a long time now has been single-window clearance. In agreement, Amit Pal, Vice President-Operations, Mahindra Lifespace Developers, says, “This is most important; it will actually help us construct and deliver projects faster. Second, the government should help any contractor who wants to invest in technology. There are several contractors who would like to work in the affordable housing segment and they should get financial help from the government for using new technologies.”

Some tech for thought! 

- SERAPHINA D’SOUZA