Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
When suitable areas are cleared, provided with sanitary requirements and water supplies, and the land made ready for building, the public authority responsible might build plinths and then lease out the sites to workers, permitting them to erect houses to their own design under the minimum of supervision. A certain degree of supervision is essential in such cases. We found a scheme of the kind where loans were made to workers for the building and repair of houses, but no control was exercised regarding capacity, dimensions and materials, so that prevailing bad conditions were perpetuated. We suggest that such schemes would be greatly improved if specifications were incorporated in the agreement under which a loan is made. Under similar arrangements it might also be possible to provide houses for workers on a hire-purchase system. We were impressed with the possibilities of the scheme on these lines evolved by the Empress Mills in Nagpur, and we suggest that a wider use of this method might be considered by public bodies and by employers. On occasion it might be possible to open up land and permit workers to construct their own dwellings on plinths provided by the local authority, but here also municipal health departments should effect general supervision and insist on compliance with minimum requirements. A similar scheme has been put into actual practice in Jamshedpur. Roads have been laid out on an hexagonal plan in such a way as to leave abundant open spaces, and plinths are provided on sites arranged in groups to meet the customs and desires of different communities. This plan is only possible where building land is plentiful, but it is one which incorporates features with which the workers are familiar and is, therefore, the more likely to meet with success. Provision has been made for schemes of the same kind by several railways. Subordinate staffs are allowed house-building advances amounting to 12 months' pay to enable them to build houses for themselves. This facility, however, is not utilised to any great extent because of transfers and very rarely is it used by the lower-paid staffs.