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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Beyond the PG walls: related services turn booming business

Jyotsna Jalali , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 04, 2014
First Published: 09:41 IST(4/7/2014) | Last Updated: 09:46 IST(4/7/2014)

Jai Ganesh is a busy man, shouting at his workers, arranging the schedule, and in between telling us to hurry up and finish asking whatever we want to, for he has hardly any time to spare. He runs a tiffin service.

For Jai Ganesh, 29, the day starts as early as 5am. By 8am, he has to supply about 80 breakfast tiffins to different paying guests (PG) living in Sector 42. Running the service for a decade now, Jai Ganesh on an average has to supply about 210 tiffins every day, including 80 breakfasts, 50 lunches and about 80 dinners. Monthly charges for all three meals are 3,000; otherwise, 50 for each meal.

His story is a classic take of aspiration and hard work, much like the life stories of many of his client.

A native of Bihar, he had come to the city to work as a cook in a PG house in 2000. In 2004, he decided to open his own venture. In the past 10 years, he has been able to get his family from Bihar to the city and is providing both his kids with good education in school, which he says won't have been possible in his native state.

He has also reconstructed his house back in Bihar and sends money to his parents every month, all out of the money he has been earning through this tiffin service.

RISE IN DEMAND

There has been a colossal rise in demand for PG accommodation that has resulted in booming business opportunities. Almost all sectors have tiffin caterers catering to the demand of hundreds of PGs.

Rohit Pandey, who runs a tiffin service in Sector 15, says, “The trend is changing. Now many of the PG houses do not provide food to PGs. This has increased our business.”

With other things, tiffin service also costs more now, costs having risen by over 150% in a decade.

Ravi Pathania, who runs a tiffin service in Sector 42, shares, “The rates have gone up because of inflation. Everything from LPG to vegetables to other raw products is now more expensive. In 2004, when I started the business, I used to provide three meals a day at Rs. 1,200 a month, which is now Rs. 3,500.”

LAUNDRY, AND OTHER HELP

Another sector that has seen boom is the laundry service. ‘Press-wallahs’ are spread across the city, and actually can be seen in almost every lane. While for ironing they used to charge 50 paisa to Rs. 1 per clothing item in 2004, now it is Rs. 3-4. For washing plus ironing, the charges have gone up from Rs. 2 in 2004, to Rs. 7 now.

Vinod, a laundryman in Sector 15, says, “The business is good for the past many years now, as the number of outstation residents has increased manifold.” Vinod got his two brothers from Bihar to run a similar service elsewhere in the city.

Domestic help is another segment that is all smiles, as men mostly prefer hiring cleaners.

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