Illegal paying guest units in Mohali: No action by GMADA
Despite a fire tragedy in Chandigarh last year when three girls died in a fire in an illegal paying guest (PG) facility, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has managed to register just 100 out of at least 1,000 such illegal units here.
Most of these units currently are running out of what’s known as PG ‘hubs’ in phases 2, 4, 5, 7, 3B1, 3B2 and Shahimajra, Mataur, Kumbra and Sohana villages as many students and office workers live there.
GMADA had framed a policy in 2000 to allow PGs in residential areas here, which was revised in 2013, to specify a 50 square foot minimum usable area for one PG unit with adequate provision for toilets according to public health department norms.
Notices issued to 76 PG units
Last year in February, the municipal corporation issued notices of 76 PG units in villages under its jurisdiction, but no followup action was taken.
A GMADA official attributed the reason for the delay in PG registrations to the lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak. “This year we will be aggressively conducting a drive and strict action will be taken against the owners,” he said.
The amended policy had also stated that the area of the house being let out for PGs should not be less than 7.5 marla, with a part of it being used by the homeowner, who would also be responsible for maintaining discipline, peace and social harmony in the PG premises.
Shutting down of premises
In a notice last year asking PG unit owners to register their business with it in 30 days, GMADA had warned that failure to do so would result in shutting down of the premises and sealing of the business.
Another GMADA official said PG unit owners tended to avoid tax by not informing the authorities that their homes were being used for commercial purposes.
Registering the units would mean increased water and power tariff at commercial rates.
Commenting on the matter, PS Virdi, president, Consumer Protection Federation, asked why GMADA could not carry out a survey to ascertain the number of illegal units and take action against the owners.
Former Shiromani Akali Dal councillor Phool Raj Singh said he had taken up the matter earlier with the MC house as many people living a PGs were involved in brawls over parking and other issues.