The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the ‘Ashiana Annexe’ in Dehradun, Uttarakhand today (July 10, 2017) which comprises of twelve low cost dwelling units constructed to accommodate officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan during Presidential visits to the Retreat at ‘Ashiana’.These dwelling units have been constructed using the Habitech-NivaraTantra - Onsite Sanitation Integrated Community Housing Technology Innovations developed at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). The Technology innovations comprise unique blocks known as "compacted intermeshing" blocks which are made from local soil. The production of these blocks is on site and is an entirely green process. These blocks have novel cavities for horizontal and vertical reinforcement using steel bars which results in eliminating use of the conventional beams, columns and concrete lintel. The cavities also enable natural air curtain against temperature, noise pollution and water penetration. Other salient features of these dwelling units are that they are disaster resilient, sustainable and cost effective. Scientific treatment of sanitation waste enables mitigation of disease risk and ensures health and wellbeing of residents and the community.
On the occasion, an MoU between M/s Prashak Techno Enterprises and Central Building Research Institute was signed to collaborate for effective proliferation of Habitech-NivaraTantra Technology solutions with a focus on low cost, disaster resilient housing, more particularly in the rural areas to enable vision of "Housing for All" with a special emphasis on housing for the economically weaker sections and low income group communities. The 'Ashiana' situated on Rajpur Road of Dehradun comprises of the main building, Annexe, Upper Stables & Lines and Lower Stables & Lines with associated roads and pathways. Built originally as bungalow of the Commandant of the President's Bodyguard, it has been revived by the President after long years of disuse. Shri KR Narayanan was the last President who stayed here in March 1998. The main building of the renovated 'Rashtrapati Ashiana’ was inaugurated by the President on September 27, 2016.