Push for bamboo homes

Antara Bose

Bamboo seems to be the new love of Jharcraft as the hugely successful state government undertaking ' which was formed to promote tussar culture, handloom and handicraft ' gets ready to flirt with cane houses.

The handloom corporation, which specialises in making and selling organic silk, is now looking to start the construction of bamboo houses in villages.

The project, which had initially been conceptualised more than a year ago, had run into bad weather and had to be delayed, sources said.

However, with the glitches ironed out now, the corporation, which already produces decorative items and furniture made out of bamboo, is now ready to take the next big leap and a niche for itself beyond tussar silk.

Jharcraft officials said they were collaborating with Guwahati-based Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre for the project, which was likely to kick off soon.

To start things off, Jharcraft has zeroed in on over 2,000 bamboo houses that it will set up in all the 24 districts of the state to help its weavers store cocoons. The initiative will start from Seraikela-Kharsawan and West Singhbhum and later be extended to the other districts.

"Yes, the project has been a tad delayed but we are determined to carry it out. Bamboo is a new material that we are experimenting with. We plan to set an example by building bamboo storage houses. In the first phase, we will set up 600 such houses in Seraikela-Kharsawan and West Singhbhum," confirmed Dhirendra Kumar, the managing director of Jharcraft.

Kumar added that all the structures set up by them would come up at places where cocoon is reared.

He added that with the cost of construction materials ' concrete, steel and stone chips ' shooting up manifold in the last few years it had become increasingly difficult for people from the lower income groups to set up sturdy homes, especially in villages. This is where the bamboo houses will come in, he claimed.

"A treatment plant has already been set up in Manasmudia as bamboo is found in abundance in places like Chakulia and Baharagora of East Singhbhum," Kumar said.

Prodded about the cost edge, Mausam Das, a freelance architect working in Manasmudia said in comparison to concrete houses that cost around Rs 500 per sqft, a bamboo one will come for Rs 125 per sqft.

"Bamboo as construction material offers a number of advantages for tropical countries. It is heat-resistant, low-cost and can resist wind speed of over 100 kmph," Das said.