Curfews, no party or loud music: Africans made to live by different rules in Greater Noida
Many African students that HT spoke to on Thursday said their struggles start right from finding a rented accommodation in the city.Updated: Mar 31, 2017 09:47 IST
For the 4,000-odd Africans who reside and study in Greater Noida, life in the satellite town of Delhi-NCR is an unnerving experience and quite different from that of fellow Indian students.
The relaxed norms of admission in these private institutions have turned Greater Noida into one of the most-favoured education destinations for African students.
The plight and difficulties that these overseas students face were brought to the fore after race riots rocked the city on Sunday and Monday, following the death of a 17-year-old who overdosed on drugs allegedly supplied by two Africans.
Many African students that HT spoke to on Thursday said their struggles start right from finding a rented accommodation in the city.
Apart from sorting out the nitty-gritty of rent and amenities, they say they also have to deal with differences in cultures, pre-conceived notions and language barriers.
When one scratches the surface, other reasons too spill out.
Greater Noida is preferred by Africans, not because of the city’s hospitality, but for the largely uninhabited residential sectors.
David, a 21-year-old student of Kirori Mal College of Delhi University, has been staying in Alstonia residential complex. The housing society has more than 80 African students and working professionals.
David says he chose to stay in Greater Noida and travel 80km every day to college.
“I never wanted to stay in Delhi because it is too crowded. Local people get anxious when they see us and that is why I chose to stay in Greater Noida with a group of fellow Nigerians,” he said.
David’s views are reiterated by Mukesh Bhati, a property dealer in Knowledge park area of Greater Noida. He says that ‘abandoned’ societies are usually given to Africans.
“We usually allot abandoned or newly made residential complexes to Africans as there are no local residents there. That way, both parties are content because, in a crowded locality, these groups find it difficult to adjust with one another,” Bhati said.
The realtor said the rent, however, is more or less the same for Indians and foreign nationals.
“Anyone can get a 3BHK house in Greater Noida for a rent of Rs 10,000 a month. That is because the area has a large number of uninhabited societies,” Bhati said.
But then why do Africans and local residents prefer not to share the same residential complex? HT visited various residential complexes to find out whether the residents’ welfare associations hesitate in letting Africans in.
Many representatives claimed that they have no different set of policies for Africans as that they never discriminate against anyone.
However, it was the security guards who revealed the everyday differences in culture and lifestyle.
“African students are pretty much into a night life. They usually go out after 11 pm to visit each other’s houses to party. At times, they create a nuisance after getting drunk and that becomes an issue for the society residents,” said a guard at a residential complex in Knowledge Park.
Even at Alstonia apartments, there are strict rules for residents. Listening to loud music, partying at public spots and women going out at night can result in immediate eviction.
Abhinav Rajput, president of Astonia apartments, clarified that these regulations are for the “safety of residents”.
“The police have tightened security measures because these people are vulnerable outside. We also issue orders only to safeguard them. There is no discrimination,” insists Rajput.
However, Indian students who reside in paying guest accommodations in Knowledge Park say rules for them are much more lenient.
“We don’t have any moral policing from the landlord and our entry/exit timings are not monitored,” said Rahul Srivastava, a student.
First Published: Mar 30, 2017 23:04 IST