Noida to start registering hotels, guest houses after Chinese club bust

The Sarais Act, 1867, mentions that any building being used for the accommodation of travellers needs to be registered with the district magistrate. The DM can also seek periodic reports from these “sarais (inns)” and also impose a penalty in case of any violation of law or in the event of improper maintenance
The administration said they will also look into the role of the local police station in keeping mum about the location of the club. (Sourced)
The administration said they will also look into the role of the local police station in keeping mum about the location of the club. (Sourced)
Published on Jun 18, 2022 01:35 AM IST
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Following the raid on a club in Greater Noida, which was being run by a Chinese national who has been living in India without a valid visa, the Gautam Budh Nagar administration has decided to strictly enforce the rules regulating the operations of hotels and guest houses in the city so that there are no more instances of foreign nationals overstaying even after their visas have expired.

As a rule, all places of accommodation are to be registered under the Sarais Act, 1867, though that is not the case presently, district officials admitted.

The Sarais Act, 1867, mentions that any building being used for the accommodation of travellers needs to be registered with the district magistrate. The DM can also seek periodic reports from these “sarais (inns)” and also impose a penalty in case of any violation of law or in the event of improper maintenance.

The omissions became glaringly obvious after the police raided the Chinese club, ”Tianshang Renjian (Heaven on Earth)”, being run from a nondescript building in Gharbara village of Greater Noida by the Chinese national, identified as Xue Fei (36), a resident of Xinji county in Hebei province in China, who did not have any licence or registration papers.

Police said Xue has been living in India since 2019. His visa expired in 2020 and he has been living in the country illegally since then. Sources said various angles are being investigated, including the possibility that Xue may be a spy. Police are also looking at prostitution, drug trafficking and possible espionage, said sources.

The Chinese club, Gautam Budh Nagar police said, was registered as a non-government private limited company with the registrar of companies in Kanpur on November 5, 2020, two days after the rent agreement for the property was signed by its two partners.

While the establishment had been running exclusively for Chinese nationals for over a year and a half, officials claim that neither police nor anyone in the administration knew about its existence

The administration said they will also look into the role of the local police station in keeping mum about the location of the club.

“We can only keep a tab on establishments that have registered, but it is difficult to monitor what every property is used for. There are also many properties registered by the tourism department under the bed&breakfast scheme. However, we will now run a campaign to conduct inspections and ensure that all such properties are registered,” said Suhas LY, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar.

Officials said in order to register a property under the Sarais Act, several no objection certificates (NOCs) are needed from the fire department, police and other departments.

“We regularly send notices to these establishments to submit an affidavit stating that all their NOCs are up to date and there is no illegal activity being carried out,” said city magistrate Dharmendra Kumar Singh.

Officials also insisted that none of these clubs is frequented by foreign nationals exclusively.

However, there are just 37 properties registered under the Sarais Act in the entire district, and these are mostly large luxury hotels. Even the food safety department has over 400 registered restaurants with it that have over 20 crore turnover and many of them are part of larger hotels.

Additionally, a simple search on any travel website for “properties to stay in Noida” throws up over 700 results while a similar search for Greater Noida gives over 200 results.

Police said they had earlier written to the city magistrate to ensure that all such establishments that provide accommodations to foreign nationals are registered under the Sarais Act. The police had further mentioned that safety measures should be suggested to these establishments, including having CCTV cameras and metal detector door frames.

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