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Private hostels complement city’s booming higher education business

Posted On :: Monday 19th June 2017
The increasing number of students and working people in the city has led to the mushrooming of hostels and paying guest facilities making it a worthwhile avenue of business
The increasing number of students and working people in the city has led to the mushrooming of hostels and paying guest facilities making it a worthwhile avenue of business
By: Juthika Baruah

With Guwahati booming as a destination for higher education in the northeast region, more and more students are coming to the city every year. These students have to stay in private hostels or as paying guests turning the situation into a smart business proposition for the hostel owners.
The students mostly prefer to stay near the colleges where they are enrolled and as the city’s top colleges are in an around the city centre, i.e. Panbazar, Dighalipukhuri, Ulubari, etc., hostels in the adjacent areas and localities are in high demand. “On today’s date hostels are in demand depending on the place and environment. Students prefer to stay near their colleges for easier commutation and communication. Uzanbazar being central to Guwahati city, maximum number of students opt to stay here. It is a convenient locality and the water crises is less in the area compared to other areas of the city and especially in hostels, water is the major requirement. There are 8-10 hostels within a 100-metre radius in Uzanbazar. Running a hostel is not an easy task. We can’t charge the students too much and have to manage within the reasonably stipulated fees. The girls use laptops, hair dryers, irons, etc. inflating our electricity bills but we can’t charge extra for that,” said Arunjyoti Das, owner of Asheeyana Girls’ Paying Guest at Uzanbazar, while speaking to G Plus.
Das said, “We have to renew the license every year and by way of licence renewal fees we have to remit Rs. 4,400 for the 16 seats that we have. Starting the hostel cost us Rs. 10, 400 by way of fees which had to be paid for the license. Other than these, I have to buy LPG cylinders from the black market as I need more than one cylinder in a month. We provide quality food and food is prepared according to the preference of the girls. The entry time is 7 pm and I have also installed CCTV cameras for security reasons so that the girls do not indulge in any undesirable activities.”
Das said that his rate per seat is Rs. 4,000 and he has to manage everything within that money. He doesn’t make much profit as his quality of food is better than the other hostels and he doesn’t compromise on the same. He also does not prefer any working ladies as the timings become uncertain and does not match the exit and entry timings of the students.
Nilamoni Gogoi, owner of Aunty Paying Guest, said that the girls in her hostel stay in a homely environment and as she has been running the business for more than five years she knows how to deal with the girls. She has both students and working ladies. “Being a single woman I cook myself for the girls and therefore they don’t complain about the food quality. The rate is between Rs. 3,500 – Rs. 4000 and I can’t increase the same as most of them are students,” said Gogoi.
Moreover, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has given some guidelines to the hostel owners which need to be followed without any lapses. If any of the mandatory documents are not provided the license is liable to be cancelled.
Meanwhile, the Greater Guwahati Hostel and Paying Guest Owners’ Association alleged that the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Labour Department, which is one of the documents that needs to be provided, becomes mandatory only when there are more than two employees and the hostels with the single or two employees need not provide the same. “The GMC officials themselves do not have any idea of the Trade License form available in the website and they provide a different form to the hostel owner for issuing a trade license. Nowhere in this form is mentioned what documents are to be submitted along with it. This information is given verbally. There are around 750 private hostels in the city but only 250 are registered as most of the owners do not come for registration because the criteria laid down by the department are not agreeable to them. The registered hostel should pay a fee of Rs. 200 monthly and Rs. 2,000 annually to the GMC,” informed the Association. 
Moreover, the hostels at Rajgarh Road, Lachit Nagar, Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar, which are the severely flood affected areas of the city also run successfully although their rates are lower. “Although these areas are flood affected students still prefer to stay in these places as some of the colleges like Swadeshi Academy and Icon Academy are nearby. Also the medical students who do not get the institution hostels in the first year stay in these private hostels. The rates are comparatively lower than some of the other areas and students find them suitable and convenient,” said one of the residents of Rajgarh Road who runs her own hostel.
Guidelines for issuing trade license:
• Commercial Permission of the building
• No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Fire
• NOC from Health
• NOC from Labour Department
• Garbage Disposal Agreement
• Police Verification
• Commercial Tax

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