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23-Year-Old Telangana Girl Launches OPods Which Are Low Cost Micro Houses Built Out Of Sewage Pipes

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Tennessee Williams, famous American playwright of the 20th century once said, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” And while the world today may seem relentless and brutal, there are moments when there is hope of finding kindness for good people do still exist. One such person being Manasa hailing from Bommakal village in Telangana’s Karimnagar district, who has come up with the genius concept of building low cost micro homes.

Launching what are being called OPods or micro homes in pipes comprising one bedroom with a built-up area 120 sq ft and made out of a concrete sewerage pipe of 2000 mm diameter, Manasa’s idea of this experimental mobile housing might be able to solve the housing crisis of many living in urban slums.

The 23-year-old civil engineer comes from a poor family herself but her mother was all the inspiration she needed.  She also credits Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) for the education that enabled her to make others’ dreams come true.

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Manasa pursued her B.Tech (civil engineering) from Lovely Professional University in May 2020, post which she spent six more months researching housing conditions and viable options in countries like Japan, Hong Kong and other places. Keeping in mind the needs of the locals and also the weather conditions that would prevail, she began to work on her first model in March of 2021.

Her efforts, directed majorly towards the underprivileged of the society, Manasa has come up with 12 impressive designs to cater to different sectors. She shared, “This is a first-of-its kind model in India. In 40 to 120 sq ft, we can have a customized movable all-weather home with a life span 100 years. The cost may come around Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 5.5 lakh.”

The OPods that are suited best for one or two person occupancy would come with a bedroom, kitchen, hall, washroom, and shelves, all equipped with electricity, water, and drainage. She further talked about it as she said, “I have seen how people live under thatched roofs in urban slums. And when it rains, they lose everything. The best part of OPod is that it is as good as a regular house and can be translocated.”

Besides offering this as a solution to those in need of cheap housing options, Manasa says that she also has designs for resorts, restaurants, mobile homes, mobile clinics, guest houses, guardrooms, etc. Senior IPS officer and Secretary, Telangana Social Welfare and Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society, Dr. RS Praveen Kumar, with whom Manasa worked as a student commented on her achievement as he said, “She wanted to chart her course and pursue higher education which is rare in small villages. I found her idea (of affordable housing) radical. It’s just the beginning for her.”

However, her journey wasn’t as easy as one would assume. Battling various struggles at different stages, Manasa recalls how she was shown no faith in, for simply being a woman. “I received no support from anyone when I wanted to take up this venture. No one was ready to fund my project, and instead pushed me back because I am a girl,” shared Manasa.

Meanwhile, Manasa’s mother, a proud one at that said, “Though no one supported my daughter’s (Manasa’s) idea initially, I am very happy to see so many people sharing our happiness now. We are very happy. I want her to build affordable homes for the poor.” It is a great feeling to see not just women excel in their fields but also contribute to the society at such an instrumental level. Kudos, to Manasa!

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