The winds of change since the PG system took roots in the city in 2000 have had both positive and negative ramifications.
From a dull town meant for the tired and the retired, Chandigarh has now shed this image and youngsters roam the streets at night.
The change that the PG system has brought to the city’s culture and character has been a matter of debate and is reflected in the way students feel about the PG system.
In the words of Rashmi, a BA final year student, “I was a homely girl and hardly used to move out at my hometown at Nawanshahr in Punjab, till I came to Chandigarh for my higher studies. I am now an evolved and mature girl, all thanks to the independence and the responsibility that the PGs inculcated in me. There was freedom, but it is important to use it wisely.”
She admits that she is a changed person now after the thrills and misses of staying in a PG and her worldview has changed after staying with roommates from different cultures.
“I have to adopt the latest fashion and behavior to fit in this society,” she concludes.
This change is just illustrative of what hundreds of students feel after they have stayed in a Chandigarh PG. The change is positive for some and negative for others. Sociologists claim that there has been a change and it is more negative than positive.
Ironically, even as the PGs are seen as providing safe and secure accommodation to its dwellers, the police claim that cases of rowdyism and road rage have increased. Though, there is a caveat that the involvement of paying guests in any major crime has not come to light.
Arun Grover, staying as a PG in Sector 36, that the late night honking and movement of cars is a by-product of the PG culture and left them tenses and sleepless.
A positive that has emerged is that the earnings of residents have risen and PGs are also seen as a solution to the empty-nest syndrome that some elderly face in their houses, with their children out of the city for jobs or study.
Local students also gain some idea of how to compete in exams after seeing the talent of students from outside states.
ROWDYISM A MAJOR ISSUE
Youngsters carrying hi-end vehicles zip around the city roads and their nuisance value has been documented. Brawls over parking are routine.
Residents near girls’ PG are now habituated to late night movement of cars in their lanes. Hooliganism is also reported with boys calling out names of girls. Violation of traffic norms is another outcome.
SAS Nagar SP Swarandeep Singh said that in some cases, miscreants were also found to be using the PGs as hideouts.
DSP (operations) Satbir Singh said it was imperative for the paying guest owners to get registered so that the police stop misuse of the system.
In SAS Nagar, a committee has been set up to oppose the culture of offering accommodation to PGs. In Panchkula, the number of paying guests are few and thus the city has moved on at its own pace.