From home cooked food, laundry service, WiFi, air-conditioned rooms, beddings, attached bathrooms, the PG wallah has certainly come of age. While children were being stuffed like sardines in PG-infested sectors of 7, 15, 19 and 20, the new paying guest accommodations coming up in sectors 10, 32, 33, 35, 36, 42, and 45 boast ‘studious, clean, homely environment’.
So if you have missed out on a hostel seat in this admission season, don’t worry as you have plenty options to choose from. Take Jasmine Mittal’s PG facility in Sector 27, for example. Spick ‘n’ span, it accommodates two to three girls per room on two floors, has a kitchen on each floor and a dedicated cook and cleaning woman who does the rounds. “The demand is for fully furnished and European-styled bathrooms,” says Mittal, who has been running the facility for over five years now.
Walking distance from MCM DAV College in Sector 36, Sherry Gill’s two-bedroom with attached bathroom is just the perfect little place for four girls at Rs 4,000 per person per month.
“Chandigarh is fast turning into an education hub, and most kids are willing to pay extra for an independent space as hostels are unable to provide the facilities a modern-day student looks for,” points out B C Chauhan, who has been running a hostel for nine years in sectors 42, 43 and Industrial Area Phase 1. A tie-up with a coaching institute assures him about 100 students in his PG accommodation that is fully furnished, air-conditioned and has attached bathrooms.
Seven years back, when Kamal Yadav of Mother’s Home — he runs it with Ajay Sharma — came to Chandigarh to pursue his MBA, he found himself an unwilling resident of a rundown paying guest accommodation in Mohali. A living room with cardboard partitions and a line-up of rickety old beds doubled as a bedroom. “There was no privacy or a clean homely environment which a student looks for,” says Yadav, who along with friend Sharma decided to create a home away from home.
After surveying the city and visiting about 80 PG facilities, Yadav and Sharma started their own ‘home production’, applied for registration and a year back opened doors to Mother’s Home at Rs 10,000 per month. Situated in sectors 10 and 33, these hostels-cum-PGs for boys and girls offer three-time meals, fully furnished bedrooms, attached bathrooms, CCTV cameras all over, and also a live feed for parents to check!
While Yadav and Sharma are also working on a website and biometric system, Kuldip Singh’s Sector 45 hostel comes equipped with fire alarms, security cover and a guard on duty. “PGs flourished in Sector 45 when the government asked dairy owners to move farms and cattle, and convert the space into a residential area. This became the new source of income, and today I have 51 rooms on three floors with 80 to 90 students,” says Singh, who charges Rs 5,500 a month.
With hundreds of PG accommodations in the city, it’s a market that runs mostly by word of mouth, and the latest postings on websites like OLX for smartphone-savvy generation. “But one has to be careful of ads with swanky pictures. Most PGs don’t look like that. One has to check and get one’s money’s worth,” warns Yadav.
One can only run a PG facility from a building that is 7.5 marla plus (10 marla is 250 sq yard). From a completion certificate of building, furnished premises, commercial rates for water and electricity to at least one bathroom with a European seat per five children, 50 sq ft of space per child, these are certain guidelines that one needs to follow and get registered at the UT Estate Office, Sector 17. The food source can be a common kitchen or tiffin service, and a paying guest can be a student or a working professional who can be asked to vacate any time without notice.