Residents in Mukherjee Nagar, a prominent coaching center in northwest Delhi, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the inadequate living conditions in paying guest accommodations. They depict cramped living spaces with insufficient ventilation, poorly lit staircases, and insufficient entry and exit options. Additionally, they draw attention to the presence of exposed power cables throughout the neighborhood, posing a potential fire hazard.
Adding to their grievances, residents highlight the excessively high rents in the area, which are beyond the means of many. These concerns have arisen following a recent fire incident at a women’s PG in Mukherjee Nagar, which necessitated the rescue of 34 individuals.
One resident, who is preparing for the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) examination, shared, “I couldn’t sleep that night. We pay ₹13,000 in monthly rent, which includes meals. It’s quite steep. We expected better value for our money.”
Authorities attribute the recent fire to a problem with the electricity meter board in the building and stress that the building’s sole entry and exit point is cause for concern regarding potential disasters.
A 22-year-old aspiring civil servant expressed doubts about her chances of surviving a fire in her cramped room. PG owners have resorted to makeshift solutions to accommodate more tenants, dividing standard-sized rooms into smaller units using wooden partitions, resulting in rents ranging from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000.
Many of these makeshift cabins are housing more occupants than they can reasonably accommodate, prompting the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to issue notices to nearly 100 units for violating building regulations. In response, some owners have commenced the dismantling of these makeshift structures.
While some PG owners claim to have taken fire safety precautions more seriously since the recent incident, students remain apprehensive, especially given the limited exit options in many accommodations. The recent tremors in the city have further heightened their concerns.