Improving housing in the slum of Dharavi

25 April 2013

To enable the inhabitants of Dharavi, a slum in the heart of Mumbai, to build decent, solid and watertight houses, LafargeHolcim was the first concrete manufacturer to deliver concrete in alleyways that are too narrow for trucks. What's the secret? Concrete in buckets delivered on motorized tricycles!


In Dharavi, one of the slums of Mumbai, a million people live in shacks made of corrugated metal and other recovered materials. To give these people a minimum level of comfort, LafargeHolcim has undertaken a project of transforming existing inadequate homes into houses that can provide better protection during the monsoon season.

Concrete was an obvious solution, as it is a robust material that can provide better protection against weather hazards. But how could we deliver concrete in the narrow alleyways where there is no room for concrete trucks to pass? 

Concrete in buckets

Since April 2012, LafargeHolcim has been meeting this challenge! We have become the first concrete producer to deliver to the very heart of Dharavi, thanks to motorized rickshaws that weave around all over the slum carrying 15-liter buckets of slow-setting concrete. This delivery method is a first, but it is perfectly suited to the local conditions.

Dozens of inhabitants of Dharavi have been able to add an additional story to their homes, supported by a concrete slab. As a result, houses are more spacious, stronger, more comfortable and safer, with the added advantage of very rapid construction.  

By 2030, India will need 10 million new homes every year. The solution used in Dharavi means there are prospects of an enormous potential for improving the quality of life of the inhabitants in other cities in India and elsewhere. We are currently at work on a similar project in Brazil!

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