Foremost among India’s perennial problems are the problems of food and housing. These problems, vital to the maintenance of any standard of living, have plagued India for decades….
There is no detailed official report on India’s housing problem. But it is conceded that a vast majority of the sixty-six million families in the country live in inadequate houses…..
Indian cities, perhaps, hold a world record for pavement dwellers. Even in war-devastated countries, there are few cities that can rival Bombay for its vast population of pavement dwellers. Unofficial estimates claim that Bombay has nearly a quarter-million people without a home of any sort, while at least half the population is ill-housed. In Madras, the pavement-dwellers are estimated to exceed one lakh.
The war, the influx of refugees, the high cost of building materials and a variety of other factors combined to create this acute housing shortage in the cities. In the rural parts, the problem of inadequate housing has been there so long that no organised effort was launched to remedy the situation….
The Central Building Research Institute is the eleventh in the chain of national research institutes set up under the auspices of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The Institute will conduct exhaustive research work on building materials and construction and assist the campaign of building better houses at cheaper cost.
As a long-term project, this Institute has a great place in the task of nation-building but the problem of housing must be tackled on a short-term basis as well.
Slum-dwellers, pavement citizens, workers and peasants without a roof over their head, cannot afford to wait until after the completion of complicated research work and the evolution of technical data on building materials and construction methods.
That is where the Government can, and must, come to the rescue of the people…..
(EDIT April 13, 1953)