Gurugram, India- April 02, 2020: A resident of Mapsko Casabella undergoes thermal screening on day nine of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus, at Sector-82, near Kherki Daula toll plaza, in Gurugram, India, on Thursday, April 02, 2020. (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Gurugram, India- April 02, 2020: A resident of Mapsko Casabella undergoes thermal screening on day nine of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus, at Sector-82, near Kherki Daula toll plaza, in Gurugram, India, on Thursday, April 02, 2020. (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Waive rent for workers, students, owners told in Gurugram

The order was issued Thursday by the principal secretary, development and panchayat department, after directions from Union home ministry on March 29.
Hindustan Times, Gurugram | By Abhishek Behl
UPDATED ON APR 05, 2020 04:55 AM IST

In an attempt to stop the exodus of migrant workers and students back to rural areas or their home states and to reassure those who have stayed back of the state’s continued support, the Haryana government has directed all property owners across the state to waive off a month’s rent in rural areas of the state.

The order was issued Thursday by the principal secretary, development and panchayat department, after directions from Union home ministry on March 29. The order states that wherever landlords who have let out properties to workers, including migrant labourers, shall not demand rent for a period of one month.

The order has been passed in exercise of powers available under Section 10(2) (i) of the Disaster Management Act of 2005, said the letter issued by the government.

The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has also issued directions in this regard.

Deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh issued a public notice on behalf of the MCG on Saturday which stted that landlords in the city shall not demand house rent for one month from migrant workers, students and paramedics. His order added that if any landlord is found forcing such tenants to vacate, they will be liable for strict criminal action.

“In case of violation of any of the above measures, action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code shall be taken. A complaint can be lodged on the helpline number 1950,” the order states. This was also stated in the state government’s order.

According to an official estimate, there are more than two lakh migrant workers staying in rented accommodations in industrial hubs located in rural areas of south Haryana such as Manesar, Bawal, Dharuhera, Mewat and Jhajjar, among others. Besides, a large number of workers are employed in warehouses and logistics firms located in Tauru, Pataudi and other areas of Gururam district, officials said.

In Gurugram’s urban villages, however, it is estimated that five to six lakh migrant workers are staying as tenants in villages such as Chakkarpur, Nathupur, Dundahera, Mollahera, Sukhrali, Sirhaul, among others.

When asked about the matter, Bijender Malik, tehsildar, Manesar, said the directions have already been conveyed to most property owners and landlords in Gurugram district. “When we approached them, a majority of the locals voluntarily decided to waive off rent for a month, which is a positive thing. They also agreed to remain flexible with rent collection if the situation so demands in the future,” he said.

Malik added that in case workers are harassed or face trouble from landlords, action would be taken against them.

In Khoh village which falls under his jurisdiction, where around 4,000 workers stay in rented accommodations, land owners have joined hands to provide food, groceries and other items to the renters. “We have set up a dedicated kitchen on our own in Manesar tehsil and food is being supplied locally. The work on scaling up operations is going on,” he said.

Another official from the department, asking not to be named, said most of the workers engaged in agricultural work in rural Haryana want to go to their home states as they wanted to harvest the standing wheat crop, which shall be ready by the middle of April. “Hopefully, the lockdown will end by the middle of this month and these workers can go home with ease. Till then, we are helping them,” he said, requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, landlords in urban areas and villages in Gurugram said they have already decided to waive off rent and also help workers as they form the backbone of the city’s economy. “I have been constantly interacting with property owners and they have agreed to voluntarily waive off rent due to the lockdown,” said Rakesh Daultabad, MLA, Gurugram.

(With inputs from Kartik Kumar)

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