ARCHITECTURB OF RURAL HOUSING 57
pucca of kufcha house. The second debate is how to reduce costs through architectural design. The third is the question of government subsidy versus the ability to pay, of the house beneficiary.
Let us now take a closer look at these issues. "In the outskirts of a village or in the fields, there can be seen hovels, a number of them, usually thatched with branches and leavss. There are no windows, no doors, no courtyard, no raised verandahs for guests. A family of four or five has to enter the lair when darkness descends."4
This is the dwelling place of the landless agricultural workers who constitute over 20 million households. These are the people who live in acute poverty and are either trib&ls or dispossessed, indebted labourers. They, more often than not, live at the mercy of the landowners whom they serve as attached labourers. If they get organised their huts are burnt down by the landowners' henchmen. This is the reality of the agricultural poor in large areas in the districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Taking cognation of this plight, the government has launched a number of redistribution schemes which are intended to dispossess the landowners of their surplus land an favour of these landless poor. These programmes, begun in 1957,5 were modified in 1962 and 1970. But the implementation is sadly way behind the intentions. Between 1^62 and 1972 only six of the 23 States had taken up the programme and less than 5 per cent of the 20 million households was affected. Land is not an asset the rich give up easily, particularly if it is cultivable. The government has rightly intended to launch some sort of a rural housing programme. But the land never got redistributed on a large scale so the housing programme too was scaled down to pilot experiments.
These pilot experiments really amounted to directing various agencies to implement targets. Most of these agencies are urban-based bureaucratic institutions incapable of launching or inspiring any sort of mass rural housing programme. Thus the National Buildings Organisation (Delhi), Central Building Research Institute (Roorkee), Hindustan Housing Factory (Delhi), Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Delhi), UPDESCO (Lucknow) and others were grafted onto many programmes to provide the technical input. By some kind of a strange coincidence, all these separate agencies adopted an identical simplistic approach in which the whole problem of rural housing was reduced to making type-set plans with a large variety of plan types using multifarious specifications suitable for all parts of India. There were basically two types of plans made—the pucca house with bricks and mortar and the kutcha house of mud. Because the kutcha house was unacceptable to the beneficiary (his argument is that "if the government is giving me a house then why doesn't it give me pucca house?—a kutcha bouse I can build myself without their help") and because the cost of the pucca house was theoretically prohibitive,