Sealing shock for 900 guesthouses
Tourists heading to Delhi will soon find it difficult to find budget accommodation as the MCD will seal as many as 900 guesthouses in the city.
The Capital is already short of nearly 30,000 rooms and the sealing drive will make things worse. According to MCD, more than one lakh residential units will be required to provide board and lodging to visitors during the Commonwealth Games. These guesthouses would have solved the problem to some extent.
An order has been issued in this regard by the Additional Commissioner of MCD a copy of which is with Hindustan Times. As per the order, all the guesthouses barring those covered by the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provision) 2007 and the Master plan would be sealed with immediate effect. All the zonal deputy commissioner’s have been asked top conduct a survey and carry out sealing. There are a total of 1500 guesthouses in the Capital. Out of these 542 had applied for renewal of license since 2006 and 91 have been issued trade license and these would not be sealed.
“The Supreme Court had recently given directions that guesthouses operating without license and that which are not covered under the NCT Delhi Laws (special provision) 2007 and the Master Plan should be sealed immediately. The order for the survey has been issued to find out the exact number of guesthouses that are protected. The survey would start from tomorrow and sealing action would start in a week’s time”, said Ashok Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Sadar Paharganj zone, MCD. Majority of the guesthouses in the Capital fall in the SP zone of the MCD.
“On the one hand, the Capital is short of 30,000 rooms. On the other, the MCD is sealing guesthouses. Those who had applied have also not been issued licenses, as MCD’s building department has not been providing the relevant information. The sealing drive would affect the business adversely. We would be raising this issue with the Central government for relief”, said Arun Gupta, General Secretary of Hotel Mahasangh.
The Licensing branch of the Delhi Police has asked MCD to give them details of all the 283 guesthouses where sealing was carried out for exceeding the limit of 15 meter (ground and three floors).
“The MCD carried out the sealing drive without informing us though we are the license issuing authority. Guesthouses that have been sealed for misuse how can they continue to have licenses? The licensing process has also slowed down due to the lethargic attitude of the MCD”, said Sundari Nanda, Additional CP, Licensing, Delhi Police.
The civic body on the other hand seems to have woken up from its long siesta and is planning to simplify the procedure of grant of license to guesthouse keeping in view the Commonwealth Games 2010.
A meeting of senior officers under the Chairmanship of Lt. Governor would be conducted to formulate the policy regarding grant of license.