Soon backpackers in the city will have a tough time finding a place to stay in Paharganj and surrounding areas.
Hundreds of budget hotels running on lease in central Delhi's Paharganj and Karol Bagh area are facing the threat of closure. Most of them provide cheap accommodation to tourists.
In a meeting held recently with the Delhi Police, the hotel associations have raised objections to the scores of hotels running on lease, claiming they flout various norms. As per rules, only licence-holders can run hotels and guesthouses in the city. According to hotel owners, of the 1,500 budget hotels in central Delhi, nearly 40 per cent are leased out.
The Delhi Police have assured the association of strict action, which can lead to the closure of many of these hotels, sources said. Police sources said they will conduct random checks on many hotels to nab those violating norms.
"We had issued a circular to hotels asking them not to give the hotel on lease. If they are violating the rules, their licence will be cancelled," said a senior police official.
As per rules, only the person on whose name the licence has been issued can run it.
"During our meeting, we raised the issue of certain guesthouses which have been leased out by the licence-holder to operators. Moreover, these operators do not run the place as per rules. We requested the Delhi Police to take strict action against them and stop this practice," said Arun Gupta, president of the Hotel Mahasangh.
According to sources, hotels and guesthouse owners tend to lease out their guesthouses and hotels to others at Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh without a valid licence transfer.
"This is completely illegal. We have often found that such places have been let out to individuals running shady joints. A number of these hotels also indulge in malpractices and the police must take strict action to stop them," said Sandeep Khandelwal of Delhi hotel and restaurant association.