Apart from dealing with the massive task of keeping the country safe from enemies, the other problem the Indian Army has to battle is keeping its troops warm in the border areas. More so in a place like Ladakh, where temperatures tend to dip to freezing levels, and electricity is neither reliable nor consistent.
This made the Indian Army to turn to engineer-turned-innovator Sonam Wangchuk, who was the inspiration for Amir Khan's role in the movie Three Idiots. The Army is looking to keep its soldiers warm by adopting solar mud huts that Wangchuk has come up with.
According to The Economic Times, these huts will provide enough warmth without needing too much heating, and will also be easy on the environment. The huts will not cause any pollution that usually comes with traditional heating, which requires large quantities of oil. Wangchuk, who spoke to the publication recently, said,
Solar passive structures are not new. However, these are movable, pre-fabricated, and can be assembled on the spot and give solutions to meet the Army’s shelter requirements. The cost of heating will be zero. Even if the temperature outside is -20 degrees Celsius, it will be 20 degrees Celsius inside the hut, without any heating.
The Army will take up the construction of these structures designed by Wangchuk in the coming financial year. Wangchuk's passive solar design has won him the prestigious Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2017, which recognised his innovation to provide a green solution to heating.
Wangchuk, who hails from Ladakh, knows a thing or two about the harsh climatic conditions of the area. He intends to set up a plant there, under the Alternative Mountain University. He told ET,
We are doing several more prototypes. It will be scaled up. I don’t think the Army has formulated a policy, but they have shown keen interest and are paying for the prototypes.
He noted that the materials will be fabricated in the plant and assembled on the spot in summer when the weather is fine. "One hut will take just two weeks to be set up," Wangchuk said.
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