Proposed Plan for the Rehabilitation of Bhadli Village
–as developed by Somaya & Kalappa Consultants

Need to revise plans provided by the Government:
Although the modules supplied by the government were adequate and functional, they were not designed in accordance with the specific needs of the people. Certain key features were not given importance and the underlying character of the village was not incorporated into the design. Hence the existing plan had to be modified.

The five basic criteria that governed the basis of design for the new housing plan were (i) the character of the village, (ii) the needs and necessities of the villagers, (iii) the available space and cost of construction, (iv) need for structures resistant to seismic activity and climatic extremes, and (v) the use of indigenous materials and the re-use of recovered material.

Maintaining the character of the village:
A veranda is essential for the houses because it forms a covered outdoor seating area and is used for a variety of activities. Houses that have courtyards can be oriented in such a way as to avoid direct sunlight, as per site conditions. In houses that face the street, the verandas form otlas or raised seating.

If possible, the houses should be constructed in two or three groups of four to five, so that a common gathering space is created between the houses.

It has been observed that the villagers like to decorate the area on the wall surrounding the doorframe using designs made from lime, clay and mirrors, and also have niches for diyas on either side of the door. Hence, adequate space should be left around the doorframe to accommodate such embellishments.

Individual needs:
Along with agriculture, bandhni making and handicrafts are the main professions of the villagers, and adequate provisions need to be made to accommodate the materials and tools used, either within the house or outside. The villagers require space in the courtyard to store the material, work, dry the cloth, mix dyes and other activities. They prefer not to carry out these activities inside the house because of space constraints. In case the house does not have a courtyard, storage lofts should be provided inside the house.

As the villagers cook on wood fire chulhas rather than gas stoves, the kitchens need to be well ventilated, and a non-mechanical system for removal of smoke needs to be devised. An alternative design solution is to replace outer walls of the kitchen with bamboo or MS jalis that will allow the smoke to escape and will keep out animals. Sufficient storage and seating area should be provided in the kitchen.

Water supply and drainage:
A new bore well is being dug after the previous one turned saline after the earthquake. Water supply is facilitated by pre-existing PVC pipelines. At certain designated places in the village, in between groups of houses, hand pumps should be provided so as to reduce the workload of women. This also forms a common space for washing and cleaning, thus concentrating supply and disposal in only a few locations, thus allowig ease of maintenance.

All the bath and toilet blocks in the village, were in one corner of the courtyard of each house. These blocks had one side abutting the compound wall and one facing the street. The water storage for the bath-toilet blocks and other activities was in an overhead tank, made locally from cut-Hume pipes. In the absence of toilets, the water was stored in a tank on the compound wall at a certain height so as to maintain pressure by gravity. Each toilet will have an individual soak pit next to it, within the courtyard. The drainage system consisted of pipelines made from semi-cylindrical Mangalore tiles that carried the water for five to six feet and then flushed it into the ground. This system can be retained in the new plan.

Presently, electricity is supplied by two sub-stations, and distribution is carried out through exposed overhead wiring. A system of street lighting will be provided.

Seismic Resistant Structures:
The basic criterion for making a house seismic-proof is to make it a homogeneous unit. The plinth is made of random rubble available in the village, and is lined with an r.c.c. plinth beam, 1’6’’ above ground level. Similar to this, three other r.c.c. beams occur at the sill, lintel and roof base. The r.c.c. members are interconnected with vertical steel rods encased in concrete at every T and L junction. The openings for doors and windows on the top and bottom always end with an r.c.c. member, thus avoiding cracks during movement of the base. Shear keys at the base of the plinth, above the r.c.c. and in between the plinth beam and wall will be added to avoid displacement.

Climate Resistant Features:
The roof should continue on the sides till the ridge, forming an r.c.c gable, which in turn supports the roof. Generally, Mangalore tiles are placed on purlains, rafters and battens made of wood, which is now replaced by minimum steel angles/pipes. This system is inadequate because the tiles are not anchored and any strong wind will lift them off. No cantilever or overhang should be provided on the gable side of the roof so as to avoid capture of wind during storms. However, on the other two sides, the roof can project beyond the walls to have effective drainage and also to protect the wall. The last row of Mangalore tiles of the roof overhang should be screwed down to the batons to avoid uplift by wind.

Openings for ventilation in toilets and store-rooms should be the minimum size required for the room so as to avoid dust and the intense heat conditions prevalent in the area. The villagers prefer to have the openings higher up on the wall using r.c.c. jalis which allow the exchange of air through small openings and also keep out birds and rodents.


Also read about:

Kutch : A Brief Overview

Rehabilitation and reconstruction

Bhadli Village: Rehabilitation Plans

Facilities that require repair and upgradation

The Village in Pieces - A visual presentation

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