Patna, Nov. 2: With no authority to keep tabs on them, private hostels in the capital are flouting all norms.
Not only are these hostel owners troubling the inmates with their strange rules, many of them are also cheating the government by not paying taxes.
The private hostels make a lot of money by overcharging youths who come to the city for in search of jobs or for higher education.
Most of these hostels present a picture of mismanagement and neglect. Hygiene and security are in a state of total neglect. The rooms do not have any fixed rent and are mostly crammed.
The owners easily get away without paying property tax in absence of governing body.
A number of these hostels, separate for boys and girls, have mushroomed over different parts of the city, including Boring Road, Boring Canal Road, Sri Krishna Nagar, Kidwaipuri, Nageshwar Colony, Rajendra Nagar, Khazanchi Road, Mahendru and others.
Umankant Mishra, resident of Sri Krishna Nagar, said: “Till about five or six years ago, there were very few hostels. But now it is a lucrative business for many who run hostels in their own houses or rented apartments.”
A source said even though the lodgers are charged anything between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 a month, the conditions of living are terrible.
Akankhsa Srivastava (22), a student, said: “I work for a private company and moved to the city last year. Being a simple girl, I did not find any accommodation and had to live in a hostel at Rajendra Nagar. I do not like the environment and the living standards are not up to the mark. I do not have any choice but to live there.”
She said: “Most of the hostels in the city have the same problem.”
A source said most of the hostels accommodate five or six inmates in a single room. Worse still the rooms are compartmentalised by plywood.
Sujeet, a student residing at a boys’ hostel on Khazanchi Road, said: “There is absolutely no privacy in these hostels. Parents put up their wards in these hostels so that they can study in the capital. However, the bad environment and little privacy makes it very difficult to concentrate.”
He said the quality of food and the sanitary condition are very poor in most of these hostels.
Simran Kumari, a girl who resides in a hostel on Boring Canal Road, said: “We stay in a hostel where 35 girls are put up in a flat meant for five. We pay Rs 3,500 every month but there is no proper arrangement for cleaning the place. The toilets are dirty and the food is substandard. But there is no one we can complain to.”
A source at Patna Municipal Corporation said there were no official records of how many hostels are there in the city. Though they should be paying commercial tax, they get away by paying tax at domestic rates.
Municipal commissioner Manish Kumar said: “I have just joined the corporation and am not in a position to say anything. If we get a detailed list of these hostels then we can take appropriate steps.”
Bihar State Electricity Board has also failed to collect commercial tax from these establishments.
Bihar State Electricity Board spokesperson H.R. Pandey said: “We see the consumption pattern of a household and charge accordingly. But we do not have any record of these establishments.”