Backpackers will soon have a tough time finding a place to stay in Paharganj and surrounding areas.
The Delhi police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have decided to take action against the 700-odd guesthouses in the city that have been running without licence for the past two months.
While the police have begun fining them, the civic agency will start sealing them soon. Most of these guesthouses are situated in Paharganj, Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh areas.
According to the MCD, which issues no-objection certificates (NOC) and grants health licences to the guesthouses, they do not conform to the guidelines of Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021.
“Under the MPD 2021, guesthouses are allowed to operate from commercial streets only. Most of these guesthouses come under the mixed-land use. Hence, they cannot be issued NOC from us as that will be illegal. However, if the Delhi Development Authority makes any amendment in the MPD they might be allowed to operate. But it seems very unlikely that it will be done,” said a senior MCD official.
Officials further said that these guesthouses were allowed to operate till March 2011, as a provisional registration was allowed keeping the Commonwealth Games in mind.
“The provisional registration has (now) expired. Our health department has sent the guesthouses-related files to the town-planning department for a final decision,” the official said.
The traders on the other hand are unhappy with the decision.
“We have sent them our files with all the valid documents but even then they are refusing to issues us NOCs. All the guesthouses which have not been issued licences have been running for the past many years. Why have they suddenly decided not to renew it?” said Arun Gupta, general secretary of Delhi Hotel Sangh.
Civic agency officials say there are more than 700 guesthouses running without a licence
Delhi Police have already started fining a few of them
MCD refused to issue them NOCs stating they do conform to the guidelines of the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 Under the master plan, guesthouses can operate from commercial streets only.