The Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu stressed the need for providing affordable, safe and durable housing to the growing middle classes without compromising on quality.
At the same time, there is a need to ensure aesthetics, the Vice President said while virtually inaugurating the Platinum Jubilee Foundation Day of Central Building Research Institute (CSIR-CBRI). The rapid economic growth and increased urbanisation has led to a great demand for housing in cities, making it a daunting task for planners, he added.
Emphasising on the importance of aesthetics, he said – “When a family lives in a crammed locality with hardly any ventilation or sunlight reaching the homes, it naturally affects their wellbeing.” COVID has shown us the need for air circulation and the importance of sunlight, and it is the duty of the architects, planners, governments and institutions like CBRI to ensure these elements in built structures, added. He also suggested that authorities look into the feasibility of making adequate light and air circulation a norm for building plan approval.
The Vice President observed that the emotional appeal of a ‘home’ has not changed, even as we progressed from simple mud-walled huts to sophisticated skyscrapers. Thanks to our economic growth, schemes like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and progressive legislations like RERA which protects home buyers, the dream of owning a home is not just of the few anymore, he added.
In order to fulfil the responsibility of ‘Housing for All’ in letter and spirit, Shri Naidu called for adopting latest technological advancements such as prefabricated buildings, factory-made housing and precast stone blocks. Pointing to the fact that the current practices are still largely labour and material intensive, he said this often leads to time and cost overruns. Institutes like CBRI must lead the way in the latest technological advancements like 3-D printed housing and zero energy buildings, Shri Naidu observed.
He also said that our construction workforce must be well-trained in modern construction techniques, noting the huge employment potential in the sector. “Unskilled manpower in this sector must become skilled manpower”, he said.
The Vice President also raised the issue of sustainability in buildings. Underscoring the need for green buildings’, Shri Naidu said that 39% of energy-related CO2 emissions in the world are coming from buildings, a major contributor to greenhouse gases. He called for making green buildings the ‘new normal’ by creating awareness about this concept among the people.
Shri Naidu also highlighted the importance of using ‘green materials’. Pointing out that the production of traditional construction materials like brick, wood, cement, steel and sand is energy-intensive, the Vice President called for promoting nature-friendly homes by increasing the use of locally available materials or ‘green materials’. “‘Reduce, reuse and recycle’ should be the mantra of civil engineers and they should utilise the by-products of other industries such as fly ash from power plants”, he added.
Shri Naidu also called for addressing the huge housing shortage in rural areas. He added that the Government has launched the ambitious PMAY (Gramin) for this purpose with an aim to provide a pucca house to all, by 2022. He reiterated the vision of Shri APJ Abdul Kalam and Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee who called for providing urban amenities in rural areas. “If we can provide these, along with employment opportunities we can contain rural-urban migration and reduce the pressure on cities”, the Vice President advised.
Noting that the country is prone to multiple hazards and calamities, Shri Naidu also highlighted the importance of adopting disaster-resilient designs and construction practices as the new norm in all buildings. He appreciated the role of CBRI in improving Disaster Mitigation in buildings, including Fire Engineering and for its role in constructing five COVID hospitals in Himachal Pradesh in a record time. He expressed hope that the Institute will continue to be at the forefront of the ‘housing revolution’ in India and work for the shared dream of ‘Housing for All’.
The Vice President also virtually inaugurated makeshift hospitals at Nalagarh and Tanda, Himachal Pradesh, the Platinum Jubilee Pseudo Dynamic Laboratory and the Centre for Excellence in Cultural Heritage at CSIR-CBRI.
Shri Jai Ram Thakur, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Dr. Shekhar C Mande, Director General, CSIR & Secretary, DSIR, Dr N. Gopalakrishnan, Director, CSIR-CBRI, Roorkee were among the dignitaries present during the virtual event.