Failing to check backgrounds and keeping a record of all the tenants, paying guest (PG) accommodations in Bangalore witness an increase in unaccounted for thefts
By Nikita Arora
Pragya Vaibhav, who lives in a paying guest accommodation in Sadduguntepalya, gets ready and packs her bag to leave for college. It’s 8.40 AM and she is yet to have breakfast. She leaves everything to satisfy her growling stomach and climb down the stairs that lead to the mess, where the food is served.
“After finishing my breakfast, I reach the room and to my utter surprise, I found my wallet, which was in my bag, was lying on the table and my bag was unzipped and approximately Rs. 2 thousand were missing from the wallet. I ran down the stairs to report this to the guard”, Pragya said.
The guard, Raju, or rather the manager of GV comforts PG for girls, where Pragya lives said, “The problem is that these girls don’t keep their valuables carefully. What was the need to leave so much cash outside? I cannot just point fingers at tenants and accuse them of theft. I will lose my job like that.”
Under Schedule 10 part II of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act 1976, PG accommodations are supposed to procure trade license from BBMP Health Department. The license fee varies with the number of rooms that the accommodation has. Even the PG accommodations having less than 10 rooms are supposed to get a license
As per directions sent out by Bengaluru City Police (BCP), apartment owners’ associations have been asked to provide full details of their residents and safety and surveillance assets, as part of the police’s ‘Preventive Security Measures’. All eight police divisions of Bangalore have sent notices to landlords renting out property.
Under the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, state police officials are empowered to obtain tenant verification details from landlords, paying guest houses, service apartments, guest houses, and other such businesses. One reason for this is to enable police to keep tabs on
foreign students residing in the city. However, most PGs in the city does not do that. Pragya, pointing this out, said, “I understand that the guard cannot point people out, but the least he could do is maintain records of the people staying here. What is the guarantee that I am not living with criminals under this roof?”
Narayan, the Associate Director of Town Planning Department, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), said, “We have made it mandatory for all the PGs in Bangalore to collect the
identification documents of all the residents. We inspect these PGs on a timely basis to ensure that they are doing so.”
As per the records of the Town Planning Department, there are over 4000 paying guest accommodations in the city. Raju said, “The owner has 5 more PGs in this area. It is extremely difficult for him to keep a record of everyone. If we keep rejecting or accepting customers on the basis of their identification, we are going to lose out on a lot of business.”
Akhil Sikri, an owner of a startup that offers paying guest accommodation in the city said, “We keep a detailed record of our customers. The problem with the local PGs is that they are quite
unorganized and it is absolutely impossible to keep a record of all this information manually.”
Jagadisha N, Inspector, Ashok Nagar Police station, said, “We keep getting complaints of people in PG about theft and most of the time we find out that thieves are nobody else but either their roommates or people working in the PG. Ideally, the owners of the PG ought to have
the identity proofs and contact details of all the tenants. In case they are not doing so, then they should be fined by the BBMP authorities.”
Akriti Singh, an advocate, said, “It is extremely important to ensure that proper databases of the customers are maintained for the safety of the fellow mates in the building, but both the PG owners as well as the police are reluctant to do so. Hence, the trouble. Heavy fines must be imposed by the authorities on the PG owners so that they don’t make such errors.”