NEW DELHI: Accommodation will be more expensive for most students this year. Paying guest facilities and private hostels have increased rates by 15%-20% with the rise in cost of power and cooking gas. Facilities such as air-conditioning and internet-access that came free with the room till last year have now become “add-ons”.
But the demand for accommodation is a constant one and PG-owners are using social media to spread the word. A group of enterprising Delhi University students have launched a website to help newbies find digs in the city. Findyourpg.com has been fielding questions about the location of PGs. One can register as a “seeker” on the website, specify the requirements and the website throws up options. “We have 83 PG-providers registered with us and since the first cutoff list, we have received over 150 queries on phone,” says Tariq Musthafa, third-year student at Shri Ram College of Commerce and one of the website’s nine founders.
The rising rates make things difficult even for students already staying in PGs. “I was paying Rs 5,000 for a room for two in Mukherjee Nagar. But I had to shift as my PG-provider hiked rent by Rs 600 and will now charge separately for meals,” says Neha Singh, a second-year BBA student.
Mukherjee Nagar is not the only area where rents have shot up. The situation is the same in Kamla Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Roop Nagar and Shakti Nagar — all places close to campus and, therefore, popular with students seeking places to stay. There are luxury-rooms at Petals in Shakti Nagar and White House at Malka Ganj where rates vary. If you’re willing to share a room with two others you pay Rs 10,000 in a month; a double-room is for Rs 12,500 and a single comes for Rs 15,000. These cover meals and stay. The students have the use of common rooms with refrigerators, LCD TVs and microwaves and of the gymnasium. Add-ons include attached baths, AC and internet.
However, at non-luxury accommodations, prices range from Rs 9,000 to 12,000 but with these deals you get nothing more than a room with a water-cooler and food which is typically vegetarian. Lentils, rice, veggies and five rotis (with ghee) make a standard PG meal. Guests are welcome, but only till the common rooms.
At Chitra Kashyap’s PG in Jawahar Nagar, internet has become an “add-on” from this year. “For an AC room, I am paying Rs 9,000 but for internet, I have to pay Rs 500 extra from this year. But there are only three computers in the common room for all four floors and half the time they are occupied,” she says. The rising costs have prompted some students to try finding rooms in college hostels. Komal, a second-year botany (H) student, recently moved to the girls’ hostel at Hindu from a PG because of the hike and reduced facilities.
The increase in prices of cooking gas and electricity and the water-crisis have prompted owners to hike rates, says a PG-owner from Roop Nagar. Owners prefer to cut down on the number of facilities offered as part of the main rent rather than raising the rent itself.
“We charged Rs 10,000 per student till last year and provided students with all the facilities such as internet, food and air-conditioning. This year we are charging Rs 8,000 but from now students will have to pay Rs 1,500 extra for air-conditioning and for internet, we’ll charge according to the use,” says PG-owner Jagdish Prasad.