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Alarming neglect: Over 2 lakh PGs in Delhi live in unregulated ghettos

By Atul Krishan

New Delhi, Oct 1: The national capital has over two lakh paying guest (PG) accommodations in Mukherjee Nagar, Laxmi Nagar, and Rajendra Nagar areas, which are unregulated and have no records with the police, Fire Department, and even the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Delhi has emerged as a magnet for students hailing from various corners of the country, drawn by the pursuit of competitive exams such as IAS, IPS, IRS, medical and engineering courses, banking, and more. These students invest a considerable sum of money to secure PG accommodations.

The proprietors of these PGs have partitioned their homes with wooden and plastic cabins to house these students. From a security standpoint, this situation raises significant concerns.

When inquired about the information on Delhi’s PGs, Atul Garg, the Director of the Delhi Fire Department, stated that there was no data accessible on this matter. Similarly, the Delhi Police said that they lacked any information regarding these PGs, although local police routinely patrol these areas.

It’s crucial to highlight that due to the negligence of PGs and coaching centers, a spate of incidents has occurred recently. Experts argue that stringent laws and regulations are urgently required for coaching centers and PG accommodations. Such incidents are likely to persist, with wrongdoers evading justice due to inadequate legal enforcement.

An official from the MCD clarified that PG and coaching residential areas are currently governed by building bylaws and master plans. They do not necessitate a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Fire Department or registration with the MCD’s building department. For PGs, only the building’s exterior layout plan is mandatory, typically allowing for the installation of interior wooden or plastic partitions.

However, given the recent incidents in PGs and coaching centers, there is a pressing need to revise building bylaws and master plans to establish more stringent regulations. For instance, similar to the requirement of an NOC for gatherings exceeding 50 people, a comparable stipulation should apply to coaching centers and PGs accommodating 30-35 students, as this constitutes a commercial activity.

In response to a fire incident in a residential building in Mukherjee Nagar, the MCD has instructed the Zone Building Department to initiate inspections of PG accommodations across all wards in the Civil Lines Zone.

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