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Updated: March 26, 2012 10:20 IST

‘Cutting corners' proves dear to these residents

Mohit M. Rao
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The Hindu

Houses built by slum board develop cracks in Sadamangala

It's been little over eight months since Leela S. shifted from her tin-shed in Byappanahalli into her allotted house constructed by the Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) in Sadamangala near Whitefield. However, the unbridled joy of obtaining a house for just Rs. 18,300 — something unthinkable in the city — soon turned into fear as cracks started developing on the floors and walls of her second-floor home.

“When there is rain, water leaks through the roof. Because of this, cracks have appeared in the walls,” she said. Some cracks are so wide that one can glimpse the wide hinterland of Sadamangala village outside her house. With windows and doors having already come off their hinges and cement chipping in chunks as she runs her nails on the walls, she said: “They told us the house will be in good shape for at least 10 years. I don't know if the roof and walls will last for even a few years.”

His experiences are shared by other allottees of houses constructed by the KSDB under Phase I of the Basic Services to the Urban Poor scheme. Residents of 30 slums have been relocated to 11,603 houses under this phase, with a sanctioned amount of Rs. 261.17 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Cutting corners

With the average cost per dwelling unit coming up to Rs. 2.25 lakh, KSDB officials said that the funds were inadequate. “Steel prices have gone up from the first estimate of Rs. 48,000 to Rs. 58,000 during the time of construction, while labour prices keep increasing in the city. We have had to find ways to cut corners,” said an official.

‘Cutting corners' was apparent in the houses under Phase I constructed in Laggere. Its first occupant had moved in only six months ago but the pipes were coming off their hinges and staircases were chipped.

In Sounder Raj's house which The Hindu visited, cheap plastic doors had holes in them and lofts were missing.

Though admitting to poor quality of construction, a KSDB official said houses built under Phase II of the scheme were of better quality. These houses received a higher funding of Rs. 124.27 crore for 3,151 houses (around Rs. 3.94 lakh per house).

But Chinna Thambi, a resident of a Phase II construction in Laggere, does not think much of his home.

“The walls have started chipping everywhere. It seems like they have used more sand than cement in these houses,” he said.

Similarly, in the Srinivasapura complex, near Yelahanka, residents said the construction was not “up to the mark”. “I would say the construction is around 60 per cent of the quality that a good construction house should have been,” said Suresh, a resident.

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