Getting a budget hotel in Delhi is no problem — unless you’re from Delhi or NCR.
Last week’s grid failure, which plunged the Capital into darkness, shed light on an incomprehensible rule. Many Delhiites who flocked to budget hotels for respite from the heat were denied a room as soon as they flashed their ID cards.
Hindustan Times reporters were met with a similar response when they went looking for accommodation in Paharganj and Karol Bagh — both popular budget hotel hubs. In high-end hotels, however, there is no such problem.
Hotel-owners follow the diktat blindly, fearing rebuke from the police. But no written rule debars locals from staying in a budget hotel.
“The police gave verbal directions in this regard to hotel associations after the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2008,” a source says. “They also feel renting out rooms to local couples may promote prostitution.”
For those looking for an affordable room before catching a flight or while visiting a hospital, the rule is a major hassle. But hotel owners say their hands are tied.
“During the power failure, many people came looking for a room last week, but we had to refuse because of police directions. We’re in touch with Delhi Police to resolve the issue,” Arun Gupta, association president of Hotel Mahasangh, says.
Ashwani Arora, owner of Rajdeep hotel in Paharganj, says the directive hurts business. “About 15% of people who want a room are from Delhi, but we have to turn them down,” he says.
Senior police officers, meanwhile, say they are finally looking into the issue. “We had a meeting with the hotel association in Nabi Karim on Wednesday, and told them that the matter is being resolved,” DC Srivastava, additional CP (Central), says.