MOHALI: The fire in a PG accommodation in Sector 32, Chandigarh, which killed three girls on February 22, 2020 forced the Mohali MC, Gmada and the police to challan unregistered paying guest accommodations. However, their efforts have slackened since then.
During recent raids in housing societies, criminals were found living in PGs and rented accommodations. The PG policy constituted by Gmada was not implemented in the past five years. According to Gmada records, there are over 600 PGs in Mohali but only 83 are registered with the authority. The authority has made it mandatory for a PG owner to obtain a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the Resident Welfare Association (RWA) in the area.
The laxity in implementing norms has led to mushrooming of illegal paying guest accommodations in Mohali. Two years after declaring that it would launch a drive to check unregistered PG accommodations in Mohali, Gmada has failed to do so.
While police claimed to have been conducting a drive to check the antecedents of people living in PG accommodations and to check registers maintained by PG owners, they do not have the power to close illegal PGs. Police officials said that illegal PGs could be closed only by Gmada.
Former deputy mayor and current councillor Manjit Singh Sethi said that earlier this year, he brought up an agenda point in the MC house meet to charge commercial rates for electricity and water from PG owners but no action was taken by the civic body.
Sethi said, “Commercialising power and water bills of such PG owners will definitely discourage people from opening PG accommodations. This way, the number of illegal PGs will also come down and so will the risk of sheltering bad elements.”
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sandeep Garg said that directions have been given to area SHOs to conduct checks at various PGs under their jurisdiction. “We will once again issue directions and get a weekly report from SHOs about checking of PG accommodations,” he said.
Police officials could not provide any data of challans served on PGs for the past two years. They said that the exercise had been stopped because of the Covid pandemic but would be resumed.
According to sources in Gmada, there are over 600 PGs operating in Mohali and only 83 have been registered. Sources in the authority said that they would again conduct a thorough survey of PGs and check whether they were running in accordance with the policy or not. According to the Gmada policy, those who want to run a PG will need to pay Rs 10,000 as processing fee for three-year permission to run the PG accommodation. The applicant would have to get the permission renewed every three years.
Gmada officials said that people don’t get their PG accommodations registered as they would have to pay taxes applicable on commercial property, besides paying more as electricity bill.
“We issue notices based on the survey report. A PG is sealed only after personal hearing. About 25 paying guest accommodations have been registered so far and we have sealed five,” said estate officer, Gmada. He added that a survey would be conducted in coordination with the local police and final action taken once the survey was completed.
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