Since the pandemic began, Indore has been empty of students, and hostel owners and property brokers have experienced a corresponding drop in business as a result.
Bhawarkua Square is a student neighbourhood in the district, with over 60 private hostels and many property brokers.
Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, all the property brokers are out of business and all of these hostels have been vacant for the majority of the academic year, generating almost no revenue.
Owners are waiting for colleges and coaching classes to be “unlocked.” Schools, colleges and coaching classes are charging fees for online classes, but hostels that have been vacant for months, cannot.
“ I lost a lot of money and had to close three hostels for almost a year,” said Nimit Verma, owner of four hostels. “The majority of the people who lived in my hostel have returned to their hometowns,” he added.
Dinesh Verma, a property agent, said, “We are barely surviving. We have been out of business since last year. Our business is mostly dependent on students who are certainly home due to the pandemic.”
“After the lockdown was imposed, most tenants in my hostel left for home, only two people were left in the hostel.” Yuvraj Sengar, owner of Tulip Girls Hostel, said. “We’re waiting for colleges to reopen because students can only return to their hostels after the lockdown is lifted,” he added.
For those who rent out hostels, the misery is intense. They had to deal with significant losses, and many are now in debt.
Vivek Vijju said, “I’ve rented two hostels with three partners for the past year, and all of the hostels are almost empty. I’m in debt and hoping for the best.” Sachin Jadhav, his business partner, said, “Even we had to return to our homes because the maintenance and living costs were draining our pockets.”
Aashutosh Dubey, a student said,” We are waiting for the pandemic to end; but, since our classes are online, we are losing almost all of the practical work and knowledge that we would get from college in regular classes. I hope the lockdown ends soon so that we can restart our ordinary lives while acting responsibly against the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Dr Srijan Jha- Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam University said ,” The main issue with these types of boarding facilities is that they are wholly dependent on students. They don’t have any other business model to earn money, also, the interiors of these hostels and PG’s are made to cater for the needs of students. Another fact is that the hostels are situated in the vicinity of colleges and universities and most of the private universities are located at the periphery of the city. So the students being only means of resource, the owners are now suffering. For the hostel business, the pandemic has been nothing short of a disaster.”