The mushrooming hostels and guest houses in Salt Lake, termed “unauthorised” by the police, have come under the scanner following the drug bust in the rented flat of former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) additional director Upen Biswas last month.
The police, with the help of the local administration and block committees, are planning to crack down on this money-minting practice. “We are keeping a strict vigil on unauthorised private hostels and houses with paying guests. We will identify all such establishments and check for any suspicious characters staying there,” said Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police (Salt Lake).
“A high-level meeting with officials of Bidhannagar Municipality and the block committees will be held very soon to formulate a strategy in identifying these houses,” he added.
Municipality chairman Dilip Gupta admitted that these “unauthorised” hostels were a cause for concern. “There has been a spurt of such hostels in recent times. We had to close down a few of them after neighbours complained of peace in the area being disturbed,” he said.
The number of “unauthorised” hostels has, apparently, leapfrogged after several educational institutes have come up in the Salt Lake Electronic Complex (Saltlec). “Most of these institutes do not have any accommodation for outstation students. These students either stay in groups in ‘private’ hostels or as paying guests throughout the township,” observed a Bidhannagar Municipality official.
Following the drug haul, in which three Myanmarese and two Chinese nationals were arrested from the first floor of the ex-CBI chief’s house in CG Block, the police brass is desperate to plug the loopholes. “A separate list of foreigners, staying in and around the township would also be drawn up to ensure that drug rackets, like the one busted by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), cannot set up base in Salt Lake,” said a senior police officer.
Besides, the municipality is also keen to bring to book “landlords conducting business on residential plots”.