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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

MCG to crack the whip on illegal PGs, guest houses

cities Updated: Dec 04, 2019 21:40 IST

Gurugram The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) is set to crack the whip on illegally-run paying guest (PG) accommodations and guest houses across the city. Officials said on Wednesday that they are in the process of constituting teams for the purpose.

The development comes three days after residents of Sector 40 carried out a silent protest against such illegal establishments in their area.

According to officials, teams in each of the civic body’s four zones will be serving notices to owners of PGs and guest houses that have not been licensed or registered with the MCG, and, subsequently, seal them if they fail to comply with the rules despite repeated warnings.

“It (action against PGs and guest houses) is an ongoing process. Directions have been issued to respective joint commissioners to issue licences to guest houses and PGs in their zones,” said Amit Khatri, commissioner, MCG.

Last November, while reading the rules and provisions under the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, former MCG commissioner, Yashpal Yadav, realised that the civic body had not been charging PGs and guest houses an annual sum of ₹1,000 per bed and therefore, losing out on significant revenue.

The discovery prompted the MCG to carry out a survey to identify PGs and guest houses across the city in December 2018, wherein 1240 such establishments were identified — 38 in Zone 1, 395 in Zone 2, 770 in Zone 3 and 37 in Zone 4.

Officials said that so far only 250 such establishments have been licensed and these do not include the estimated 800-900 PGs and guest houses operating in private colonies the MCG has taken over in the last six months.

“There are a large number of PGs and guest houses in the licensed colonies, especially in DLF Phase 3. Due to the recent ruling of the Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP), we expect the total number of PGs and guest houses to be around 3,500-4,000. Licensing them would help the MCG generate annual revenue of around ₹30 crore. In addition, we have also learnt that many are not conforming to building plans. Hence, teams are being constituted for each zone to carry out a large-scale operation against all such establishments,” a senior MCG official privy to the matter said.

In July, the DTCP had approved a new guest house policy that halved the minimum plot size from 1,000 square yards to 500 square yards, for establishing guest houses in residential areas. It had also abolished the restriction of allowing only two guest houses per sector.

As per the policy, however, guest houses can only be constructed next to service lanes of sector roads, to ensure there is minimal disruption to other establishments.

Illegally-run guest houses and PGs have been a major issue for residents since 2017, when representatives of several residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) met with Haryana chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, and took up the issue with him, prompting the CM to issue directions to the DTCP and the MCG to come up with a licensing policy.

In DLF colonies, residents have regularly carried out protests against such establishments.

“Illegal PGs and guest houses are a big nuisance, especially in DLF Phase-3, where the resources are already stretched. Due to their presence, residents have to bear with acute water and electricity shortage. There is no check on the number of occupants in such establishments and most buildings appear violate construction norms. Hence, we are hoping that licensing them will not only check the total number of occupants, but also lead to sealing and demolishing of illegal establishments,” said Dhruv Bansal, spokesperson, Qutub Enclave RWA, which overlooks operations in DLF Phases 1, 2 and 3.

MCG officials further said that they will also give an option to owners of PGs and guest houses operating in residential colonies to turn their properties back into a residential one if they do not adhere to the licensing policy of the MCG, failing which they would be sealed. They said that buildings found to be in violation of norms will be sealed immediately.

“The decision to regularise PGs and guest houses is always welcome, but the government has been very wavering in its stand. They have only amended certain norms in the old policy, which has failed, and termed the same as a new policy. Giving space for constructing guest houses on sector roads is extremely unfair, as the property prices tend to be higher than the remaining areas in the sector. The whole purpose of providing budgetary accommodation gets completely defeated,” said Hemant Gupta, a member of the Millennium City Guest House Association, an umbrella body of PGs, guest houses and lodges.