Tribune News Service
Bathinda, February 26
A few days after the fire incident in which three girl students lost their lives in a PG in Chandigarh, the district Fire Department has finally woken up from its deep slumber and issued notices to 34 PG owners in the city over the lack of fire safety arrangements.
After the Chandigarh incident, the Bathinda Tribune team conducted a check at PG accommodations in the city and was surprised to find out that at many PGs, students were living in small cabins with no ventilation. Besides, there were a number of violations of building bylaws and fire safety norms, putting the lives of the occupants in danger while satiating the owners’ greed for money.
District Fire Officer Kultar Singh said, “We have issued notices to 34 PG owners in the city and urged them to get fire safety arrangements installed in their PG accommodations.”
He said no PG owner had taken the fire safety certificate from them and a drive was still going on and more notices would be issued in the coming days as well.
Moreover, in many PGs, a store is being used as a room and there is one bathroom for 10 persons. However, a majority of these accommodations do not follow norms. Those residing as paying guests and students, especially boys, do not mind sharing their rooms with others to reduce their share of rent.
Scores of owners in the town have not registered their PGs with any authority to avoid charges at commercial rates. In the absence of any check, most house owners charge as per their wish.
As per the norms, it is mandatory for PG house owners to get their houses registered at the police station concerned. Police verification of tenants is also necessary, but PG house owners are not following this norm.
More than 200 PGs are being run illegally in the city and of them, only 20 have been registered in the old house tax record of the civic body. No PG owner in the city has taken the fire safety certificate from the Fire Department.
The MC does not have any information about the exact number of PGs running in the city. Therefore, it is not getting tax from PG owners.
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