Many people in India, including in the city of Delhi, do not have decent housing and urban infrastructure facilities and are compelled to live in slums. The government of India, in year 1997, had decided to decongest Delhi, capital of India, and to provide decent houses and urban infrastructure to slum dwellers of Delhi, and hence planned an ambitious project in Delhi on pilot basis, where slum dwellers (from few areas in Delhi, like Mata Sundari Road, CGO complex etc.) were allotted plots with urban infrastructure, so that they can live gracefully in developed neighborhood and find employment in the same locality. About 10,000 slum dwellers living in miserable sub human condition in Delhi, were relocated from CGO Complex and Mata Sundari Road to Narela sub city in Delhi. The Narela sub city was planned to create center for growth of socio economic activities and to ease pressure on urban Delhi, by planning along the route of MRTS corridor and along with existing rail corridor. Narela sub city is located on Grant- Trunk road in north west Delhi adjoining Sonipat in Haryana. The major sectors were commercial, industrial and transportation in this 9866 ha land including 2501 ha of green area. Plotted development was proposed for these slum dwellers by proving 18 sqm and 12.50 sqm area plots with adequate infrastructure and pleasant environment.
As part of this slum relocation project in Delhi in year 1997, Hudco (Housing & Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation limited) a government of India’s, Public Sector Undertaking in Housing and Built environment, had designed and got constructed Six community asset buildings in Narela and Tikri Khurd in Delhi, for the benefit of slum dwellers. These buildings are as:
1 Nursery cum Crèche at Narela
2 Integrated Complex at Narela
3 Primary School at Narela
4 Samaj Sadan at Narela
5 Samaj Sadan at Tikri khurd
6 Primary School at Tikri khurd
Hudco was asked to construct these six permanent community assets buildings, like primary school, nursery cum crèche, samaj sadan/barat ghar and integrated complex to house post office/dispensary/ration shops/ NGO office etc. The purpose of involving Hudco, was to create engineering marvels with cost and energy optimization, as well as to create skill up gradation centre, to train locals, in building materials production and in safe building construction technologies, in a most economic and energy efficient ways. Hudco opened a Building Centre (skill up-gradation centre in building materials and construction practices), in this area and started training in alternative building materials production and construction practices, to the local youth and employed them in the construction of these Six permanent aesthetic buildings. Hudco with its clear mandate planned and designed all these building, with alternative building materials and alternative Construction Techniques. Different types of building materials and construction technologies were used in the construction of these buildings such as:
|Building Materials||Construction Techniques|
| Fly ash Bricks
Demonstrated following also
Ferro-Cement Channel Roofing
RCC Planks and Joist roofing
Ferro-Cement water tanks
MCR Tiles for Roofing
Brick Jack arch roofing
RCC Filler Slab
Rat Trap Bonds for Masonry
Built in Furniture
These buildings were planned and designed in year 1997 and got constructed by different building centers promoted by Hudco, as Gurgaon DRDA Building Center, Habitat Polytechnic New Delhi, AWS Building Centers Jaipur etc., through competitive biddings. Whole Architectural and Structural Engineering and Services were planned and done in house by trained Architect Mr. Rajiv Sood and Structural Engineer Mr. Deepak Bansal, under the guidance of Mr. R K Safaya. The Buildings were designed with conformity of National Building Code of India for Dead Loads, Live loads, Earthquakes Loads and Wind loads. Although all the materials used in these buildings, are covered in Indian Standards (BIS), few construction technologies like Rat Trap Bonded masonry and RCC Filler Slabs are not covered directly in Indian Standards, hence these were designed especially with the technical literature available and peer reviewed by eminent professionals. The building constructed within time & cost and inaugurated and dedicated to public.
Now, after about 20 years, these buildings are revisited by Mr. Deepak Bansal on 6 Nov 2016 and found that few of these buildings in Narela, are unoccupied and are in shambles like:
1 Nursery com Crèche Building in Narela- Unoccupied and locked
This single storied building was designed for children of laborer and factory workers, so that they can leave their children in safe hands, while working away. This is load bearing building, designed with rat trap bonded masonry with RCC plinth bands, Lintel bands and vertical reinforcement (as this is public building, with importance factor as 1.5, as per IS-1893) with sloping RCC roof in a very aesthetical way. Beautiful corbeling is done in windows, to act like sun shades and to enhance the beauty of the structure. The Building is done without any plastering/rendering and even after 20 years, it looks very aesthetic and appeasing. There is no visible crack or distress in the building from outside. This is really shocking, that this building is locked and people are using this for dumping construction equipment and tying goats.
2 Integrated Complex at Narela- Unoccupied at Ground Floor and First Floor is occupied by a NGO related to legal profession
This partly single and partly double storied building is designed as multipurpose building, where ration shop, dispensary, post office and other facilities can be placed. This is again load bearing building, designed with RCC plinth bands, lintel bands and vertical bands in conformity with National Building Code of India. Here various techniques like Rat -Trap bond masonry, RCC Filler Slab, Brick Jallies, Jack arch roofing, frameless doors & windows and arched & corbelled openings, are provided. Now this building is in bad shape, as ground floor of this building is unoccupied and frequented by anti-social elements and first floor is occupied by a NGO, dealing in Legal counseling (as was told). The structure of the building, is generally in good condition with few cracks, and requires immediate attention and retrofitting due to years of misuse and neglect.
3 School Building at Narela- Functional and in good shape
This double storied building is designed as primary school in Narela with RCC Framed Structure, in conformity with National Building code of India with Burnt clay bricks and Fly -Ash Bricks. The roofing of the Building is RCC Filler slab and again Interesting arches and Jallies are created in this building. This building is visibly in very good conditions and there are no visible cracks or distress in this Building.
4 Samaj Sadan at Narela- in good shape as occupied by NGO related to Health
This single storied building was designed as Samaj Sadan with purpose to organize community function. The Building is load bearing with RCC plinth bands, Lintel bands and Vertical Bands in Conformity with National Building Code of India. The Building is occupied by a NGO, dealing with Health (as was told) and in a very good Condition. There is beautiful Brick dome in this building at the entrance and there is no a crack or visible distress in this building.
5 Samaj Sadan at Tikri Khurd- Is squatted by a person and not maintained at all
This partly single and partly double storied, RCC Framed construction Building is designed to celebrate community function in Tikri Khurd village, adjoining Narela. This building is located next to beautiful water body (now covered with creepers and marsh). The building is very interesting, as this has sloping roof and terraces on first floor with interesting parapets. The roof is again RCC filler slabs and interesting brick work is done in this building. The building is occupied by an unauthorized person (as was told) and they are making many structural changes in the building. The condition of the building is reasonably good with many cracks and distress, which needs retrofitting.
6 School at Tikri Khurd- Is occupied and in very good shape.
The double storied RCC Framed building, is designed as primary school in this area for educational requirement of the children. The building is aesthetically designed with RCC Filler slab, Fly-Ash Bricks and interesting jallies and arches. This is the biggest building in terms of area and a full-fledged school is running here. The maintenance is good and there is no visible crack or distress in this building.
Conclusion: It may be concluded from this transformation study ( although detailed inspection from inside of these buildings, could not be done, due to locked premises and hostile conditions), that these buildings are continuously misused during past 20 years, as buildings are locked, not used for the purpose for which they were designed , not maintained at all, people damaged these building by stealing Steel/Iron, joinery, electric/plumbing lines and fixtures and, but these are standing in-spite of seepages and are in generally good conditions, except the Integrated Complex at Narela and Samaj Sadan at Tikri Khurd. These buildings have survived these 20 years in very hostile environment in spite of the fact that these were constructed with alternative building materials and alternative construction practices. There is a great future for these building materials and construction techniques.
With the experience of structural engineering and buildings behaviors on pan India basis, the author is quite satisfied with the condition of these generally un-manned public building and has reconfirmed his belief in alternative building materials and alternative construction technologies.
*Author is a civil cum structural engineer, having interest in alternative building materials and construction practices with cost and energy optimization in built environment. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, +91-9871592418. The views expressed in this article, are his personal views, which may or may not be views of organizations concerned.