Rent of working women hostel located on PGIMER campus increased three times amid lockdown

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Published on May 10, 2020 01:18 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | BySrishti Jaswal, Chandigarh

At a time when the government is pressing landlords in the city to not ask their tenants for rent, the monthly charges of the working women hostel (WWH) located on the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (PGIMER) campus in Sector 12 were increased threefold.

If that’s not all, the hostellers are being charged an extra fine if they fail to pay the increased fee.

Curiously, both PGIMER and the UT administration’s social welfare department have said that the hostel is not managed by them.

Around 300 women, most of them research scholars, lab technicians or students involved in active Covid-19 duty, stay in the hostel. A lab technician, working in the Covid-19 ward, said that they can’t even shift amid the crisis nor can they pay the additional amount.

After a hike of 10% in December 2019, the girls living in the hostels started paying 2,210 per person for a triple seater room, and 2,613 per person for a single room. After another hike in May, the rent was increased based on the income slabs ranging between 2,197 to 8,054. In addition to that, hostellers are also charged 732 as electricity and water charges along with 293 as maintenance charges. Those who want to use a cooler have to pay an additional 100 in summers.

A research scholar from the department of community medicine, PGIMER, said, “On May 6, they put up a notice saying that the fee had been hiked for May. For me, the overall hostel payment has increased by almost three times, from 2,600 to 8,000. With mess and additional charges, it comes to around 11,000. Is such a steep hike amid a crisis justified?”

The order released by the chairperson of the hostel management committee stated that the hostel charges were being revised based on the charges of Sector 24 WWH run by the social welfare department because of increased labour cost.

PGIMER in a written statement said that the hostel did not come under its ambit, adding that all the WWHs were monitored by the UT director social welfare. However, secretary social welfare Yashpal Garg said the PGIMER WWH was not managed by the department.

When contacted for comments, Sushmita Ghoshal, head of the department of radiotherapy, PGIMER, and the chairperson of the management committee of the hostel, refused to comment, and asked instead why the fee hike was being questioned at all.

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