Gurugram: Illegal PGs on plots for poor, many leased by leading firms

GURUGRAM: The six-storey building in DLF-3 where a 20-year-old student died after allegedly being pushed off the fifth floor balcony is one among hundreds of illegal structures that have come up in the city on plots meant for allotment to economically weaker sections (EWS).

Local residents claimed many such buildings had been constructed on small 60 square yard plots — meant for EWS housing — over the years in DLF-3 alone to cater to the ever-increasing demand for rented accommodation in the city.

And several of these buildings are taken up on rent by corporate houses and startups located in Cyber City, Golf Course Road and MG Road to provide young professionals affordable accommodation close to their office.

Sources said the six-storey building, where Ramesh Singh Bisht of Uttarakhand lived, had also been leased out to a private infrastructure firm for the same purpose.

Sachin Sharma, a resident of DLF-3, said the entire paying guest (PG) business was illegal, involving malpractices in multiple levels. First: the buildings are constructed on EWS plots. Second: the owners or the builders raise five or six-storey buildings with 100% ground coverage. As per rules, only two-and-half-storey houses can be constructed with 60% ground coverage on such small plots. Third: buildings on these EWS plots can be used only for residential purposes, whereas the owners are using them as PGs — that is for commercial purposes. “Hundreds of buildings here have been converted into PG accommodations illegally, housing people working in Cyber City and nearby areas,” Sharma alleged.

People who have independent houses in DLF-3 alleged that these PGs had become a cause for serious safety concern. Moreover, these rented accommodations put excessive burden on civic amenities. “Each house has been given water and power connections with provisions for limited usage. But, multi-storey PGs, with several people living on different floors, extract excessive amounts of groundwater and electricity. The existing civic infrastructure cannot support this,” said Diwakar Choudhary, a resident of U block.

Even the authorities are aware of this flourishing illegal business, but seem reluctant to take any strong action against their owners. Sources said the enforcement wing of the department of town and country planning (DTCP) had slapped notices on around 1,100 such PG facilities in S and U blocks of DLF-3 in December 2016. But even after six months, it failed to take any action against any of them.

A DTCP official said following complaints to the CM window, a survey was carried out last year, which revealed that all those buildings have been converted into illegal guest houses. “All these multi-storey buildings have been constructed in violation of norms, and are unsafe. We have issued notices a few months ago,” he added.

Then what stopped the department from taking any punitive action against the violators? Another DTCP official, not willing to reveal his name, hinted that it was difficult to take action against these buildings. “People are earning huge amount of money by renting spaces. And they have political patronage,” he added.

  (source by:-The Economic Times)

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