Students living in Chandigarh’s PGs say owners asking them to vacate
Students staying in paying guest (PG) accommodations across the city say they are being asked to vacate the premises by the owners following the notices issued by the administration in the aftermath of Saturday’s PG fire tragedy that killed three girls.
Asking where they are supposed to go if the PGs are shut down, students of Post Graduate Government College (PGGC), Sector 46, staged a protest and took out a rally on Wednesday.
A student, on the condition of anonymity, said, “I live in a paying guest facility in Sector 22. The owner has asked me vacate the room. But next week, our mid-semester exams are beginning. Under such circumstances, how will I find myself a new place?”
Another girl who studies in PGGC-46 said, “The owners of my PG accommodation asked me to lie that we live on rent if any inspection team visits. They said if I don’t do so, they will ask us to vacate.”
Bela Kumari, a PG owner in Chandigarh, told Hindustan Times, “Everywhere, there is a situation of panic. I know many families who are running PGs in less than five marla houses and violating other norms. It is such owners who are asking students to vacate as they are fearing action.”
Nitesh Sharma, students’ union president at PGGC-46, said, “If students are asked to leave their PGs and not being given a hostel, they have no option but to leave their studies and go back home.”
While hostel facilities for students are almost non-existent in city schools, colleges, too, face severe policy constraints on the expansion of hostel capacity.
For instance, DAV College in Sector 10 has a hostel capacity of around 750 students against its total strength of over 9,000 students. In Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College in Sector 32, for over 4,000 students, there are only 500 hostel seats.
In the last 15 years, the number of students coming from other states and countries to study in the city has increased manifold.
Rubinderjit Singh Brar, director higher and school education, Chandigarh, said, “We will seek details from all colleges and take up the matter with the chief engineer for early construction of two hostels in two colleges.” He added, “We are also coming up with a new hostel under RUSA in PU.”