Sib Kumar Das
People at Lathi village still use terracotta tiles for housing
Kilns of the tiles still active outside the villageHouses having walls of terracotta tiles are heat resistive: builder
LATHI (Ganjam district): Even in the 21st century, traditional terracotta tiles are being used to construct houses at this village.
These terracotta tiles have lost their extensive use in general construction work except during the construction of soak pits. But at Lathi village kilns of these tiles are still active outside the village as all houses being constructed or repaired by using these almost extinct tiles. Houses constructed more than 150 years ago in other parts of the State used similar tiles.
These tiles of one-inch height, five-inch width and length of either 12 or nine inches are used to construct walls of concrete roofed houses as well as thatched ones. Former sarpanch of the village, Chandradhwaja Sahu, says people still use these tiles to construct walls for strength. A wall constructed by these tiles whether joined by cement or mud is stronger than brick walls. Seventy-year-old Arjun Behera of the village says the villagers still make their own terracotta tiles for construction. But he accepts that more labour and time is needed to construct walls out of these tiles in place of bricks. But old traditional habit dies hard. Added to it, villagers also sell terracotta tiles to construction units in Berhampur and other parts of south Orissa. After the end of agricultural season a large number of families of this village get involved in preparing these terracotta tiles at make-shift kilns at their fields.