Tribune News Service
Panchkula, February 22
Thousands of students and professionals migrating to the city opt for paying guest accommodation, but at their own risk as the authorities are seemingly uninterested to regulate these.
Most hostels in Sectors 7, 10, 11, 15 and several other areas of the city developed by the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) escape accountability despite operating without licence.
The policy designed by the Haryana Town and Country Planning Department clearly states: “The owner of the building is liable to seek permission from the competent authority of the Department of Town and Country Planning to run guest/boarding house in a developed sector of the HSVP or coloniser-allotted residential plot. The competent authority to grant permission in respect of the sites situated within the limit of MCs/councils/committee as the case may be shall be appointed by the Director, Urban Local Bodies Department, or any officer authorised by him in this regard.”
Meanwhile, the local authorities don’t have any number of PGs operating in the city, which might raise eyebrows.
When contacted, Surender Sehrawat, District Town Planner (Planning), said, “The registration of PGs is within the jurisdiction of the HSVP. We have jurisdiction only over colonies like Amravati and DLF. Residential colonies in several sectors are controlled by the HSVP.”
But, the HSVP has no knowledge about its responsibility or jurisdiction.
Mamta Sharma, Estate Officer, HSVP, said, “We just act if any commercial activity in a residential property is reported to us. I don’t know exactly under whose jurisdiction PGs fall. I can only make it clear when the office resumes on Monday.”
Even the Municipal Corporation (MC) has no role to play as per its statement. Who is responsible or holds accountability for safety regulations in the PGs? Not a single survey has been conducted by the district administration to regularise PGs till date.
Many owners quietly convert their residential accommodation to commercial without complying with any legal formalities and norms. Almost all PGs violate fire safety standards as most of these are without fire extinguishers.
When contacted by The Tribune to know whether they were operating PGs with a proper licence, two house owners said they had no clue about the formalities to be completed before undertaking such venture.
Several PGs have substandard housing conditions as their owners generally partition every single room into many portions so that more space is rented out to generate higher revenue.
As per the guesthouse policy, the owner shall not be allowed to sell/bifurcate rooms/flats and same shall also not be covered under the Haryana Apartments Ownership Act, 1983.
Manisha, who lives at a PG in Sector 10, pays around Rs 3,500 (without food) for a twin-sharing room. “It is something that I can afford. We have to cope up with harsh conditions,” she said.
When asked about accommodation policy enforced by the Haryana Government, she was surprised. “I really didn’t know about it,” she replied.
The police, too, is not willing to commit anything. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Panchkula, Mohit Handa, said, “Our role is confined to just police verification.”