Delhi: Educational hub/ Students’ issues

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Accommodation for out-station students

As in 2019

Mehak Sharma & Vedant Tandon , June 17, 2019: The Times of India With inputs from Avinash SVS

Paying guest accommodation for out-station students in Delhi, as in 2019
From: Mehak Sharma & Vedant Tandon , June 17, 2019: The Times of India

Home away from home: Why a roof over students’ head is such a big biz

PGs With Modern Amenities In Huge Demand As Even DU Has Just Over 4,000 Hostel Seats

New Delhi:

Studying in the institutions of Delhi is a dream come true for many youngsters, topped perhaps only by the additional privilege of being a hosteller on the campus. But of course, the latter is the privilege of only a few. In Delhi University alone, of the 65,000 that it will admit this year for undergraduate studies, over half of them outstation aspirants, only 4,331 will get hostel seats. This is true also of the other universities and institutions in the city. Traditionally, paying guest hubs have met the accommodation needs of so many students. These days, however, it is not just a roof over the head that students demand.

PGs are a necessity, of course, but potential dwellers also consider factors like safety in the locality, CCTVs, fire safety of the building and distance from their institutions in addition to rent, food and cleanliness. Secondary facilities sought include laundry, housekeeping services and WiFi connectivity. That is why many companies have corporatised student accommodation — and they are doing well too.

In the south, the major PG areas are in Lajpat Nagar, Greater Kailash and Anand, while Vijay Nagar, Mukherjee Nagar and Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar in north Delhi have been the traditional posts for outstation students.

The PG business has grown substantially in the past five years. Local property owners and dealers have taken full advantage of the shortage of accommodation in college campuses, and the outstation students find it comforting to find so many options available. Start-ups in the business prove how lucrative putting a roof over students’ heads can be.

Companies like CoHo, Stanza Living and Students Inn, among others, are drawing students with their “consumer-centric” approach. Backed by sponsors such as the Matrix Partners, Accel Partners, Alteria Capital, they provide more than just a room-and-three-meals package. Gaming rooms with pool tables and gyms are among the additional facilities they offer.

“I enjoy my stay here,” testified Anish Goyal, 23, who has opted for Stanza Living in Shakti Nagar in north Delhi while preparing for the judicial services exam. “I have access to a gym, TV and a fusball table, among other things. I don’t study all day long and these things help me relax.”

Even those in the older mould offer more than just the regular room and board. Sushila Rani has thrown in free WiFi for girls at her facility in Lajpat Nagar, charging them Rs 15,000-17,000 overall per month. “It’s our responsibility to take good care of the girls living with us and we ensure facilities that satisfy them,” said Rani. Priya Yadav, who lodges in the South Delhi Polytechnic for Women in the same locality, conceded, “The PG experience has been good. Our landlords have even provided us with coolers for the summer months.”

Madhu Sanhotra, warden of Divine Shelter in Vijay Nagar, claimed, “The girls have always felt safe and secure like they would at home. We have a security guard present at all times.” Another facility there, North Campus Girls PG, not only has WiFi but also a doctor on call at reasonable rents ranging from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000.

The sealing drive has caused a small dent in the business, mainly because coaching institutions operating out of unauthorised buildings have closed shop. “Fewer students have turned up seeking accommodation this year. We have definitely faced losses in the past year,” claimed a cafe owner in GTB Nagar, who offers rooms to students. Places like GTB Nagar and Kamla Nagar have been hit. In south Delhi, the regular PGs have also suffered, but for another reason. “New PGs have come up in Zamrudpur and Greater Kailash, closer to the institutions or to Delhi Metro stations. They are preferred by students,” explained Nitin Sikka of Chowdhary Properties.

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