New Delhi: Imagine buying a two-room house with a kitchen for Rs 1.85 lakh!

Aimed at reducing the cost in construction of houses with limited use of cement, brick and steel, the Housing and Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Ministry has initiated a pilot project to popularise the cost-effective technology, making housing affordable for all.

Besides reducing the cost by 20 per cent, the alternative technology also aims at speeding up the housing delivery process.

With the use of the alternative technology, a two-room house with a kitchen and bathroom in a 25 sq metre built up area is estimated to cost about Rs 1.85 lakh.

"The alternative methods are time-tested and proven technological solutions can reduce the housing cost by 20 per cent," said a senior official of the ministry involved with the project.

The project, implemented by Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body under the aegis of HUPA Ministry, envisages use of local materials like stone, bamboo and soil with other conventional building materials.

It has already constructed 24 such houses in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Pinjore in Haryana using the alternative technology as a demonstrative purpose.

"We are also constructing a community centre in Ambala with the same method," a BMTPC official said. With demographic growth and massive urbanisation, housing and infrastructure demand pose a major challenge. Housing activity has received a phenomenal thrust in the last decade with quantum jump in large scale housing projects.

An urgent need is now felt around the country to propagate and popularise cost effective options in large scale housing initiatives and introduce appropriate interventions to close the gap between availability of these technology options and applications to the same.

However, the housing needs of low income groups continue to face difficulties with the rapid increase in construction costs due to rise in input costs for steel, cement, labour and other building materials.

"These have impacted the housing cost for economically weaker sections," the BMTPC official said.

The HUPA Ministry has decided to promote the alternative technology for speeding up construction of houses with less cost as part of the Affordable Housing for All schemes across the country.

The BMTPC is also organising sensitisation workshops across the country for local administration to popularise the scheme.