With the PG culture now seemingly ingrained in Chandigarh and the rush only expected to increase with time, the UT administration’s role in making some arrangements for the thousands descending on the city becomes crucial.
The administration, so far, has failed to provide affordable housing for so many youngsters and thus the PGs have flourished over the past 15 years.
Arrangements like the three government-run functional working women hostels that provide decent accommodation, and others, can adjust only a fraction of the number of youngsters coming to the city. The hostels can adjust only 200-300 inmates.
The Working Women Hostel in Sector 24 can accommodate 72 and the rent is around Rs 3,500 per month for all facilities, including food. However, there is a waiting period for 3-4 months for a seat in a shared room for three. Job details and timings have to be shared. The contract can be renewed for three years, before the room has to be vacated.
There is another hostel, the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA). Here, a room can be had for Rs 2,500 with food. The Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) in Sector 11 also offers rooms at reasonable rates for short periods. A concern is the old construction. The YWCA, Sector-11 hostel was constructed in 1980 and the Sector-24 hostel in 1995. There is a hostel for college girls next to the Sector-24 Working Women Hostel, but it is under the education department management.
Panjab University and the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) have their own working women hostels. The rents are nominal and food is also provided, along with a secure environment. However, there are set timings for entry and exit. Some customisation is allowed.
There are 17 residence halls for students on Panjab University campus, eight each for boys and nine for girls, which can accommodate more than 6,000 students. Hostel admission is on merit and the rest struggle.
Shalini Aggarwal, staying at a paying guest accommodation in Manimajra, says: “Authorities need to understand that the city is becoming popular among youngsters in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and even Jammu and Kashmir. People come here for jobs, but the cost of living here is high. The administration provides little help in this segment.”
Officials with the UT administration also admit that the dearth of hostel accommodation results in outstation students opting for PG accommodation.
OVERVIEW OF PANCHKULA, MOHALI
In Panchkula, Government College for Girls, Sector 14, provides hostel facility. Government College, Sector 1, can accommodate 60 students. There is no hostel for working women worth the name in Panchkula and SAS Nagar. Rohini Khatri, a PG, says: “The administration’s claims of ensuring women’s safety fall flat as they do not care about us when we come to the city. PG owners fleece us as they know we do not have any options.”