Over 227 working women’s hostels across Chennai have come under the scanner for operating without filing applications for registration. According to Chennai Collector A. Shanmuga Sundram, civil and criminal action would be taken against the hostels. “These are hostels which have not bothered to even submit the application for registration. We have already given them ample time. A show cause notice will be sent to them,” he said. Of the 227 hostels, 79 are in Shollinganallur, the IT corridor of Chennai, over 20 hostels in Velacherry, 23 in Guindy and 18 in Mylapore.
Special Enquiry Teams (SET) have been formed to inquire into the cases. After inquiry, strict action will be taken including disconnecting electricity and water connections.
Details on website
Details of hostels which have filed their applications for registration have been uploaded on the district collector’s website. “Those seeking admission into hostels into city are requested to check with the list while seeking admission,” Mr Shanmuga Sundram said. In the following weeks, more raids would be conducted throughout the city.
Till date, over 1,050 applications have come up for registration and of this 7 hostels have been given licence. Around 127 hostels are being asked to produce additional documents, which includes building licence, lease agreements, fire licence among others. There were several complaints against seven hostels and after a thorough inquiry, five of them were closed. The remaining two will be closed soon.
When asked about the women/girls in hostels which are under the scanner, Mr Shanmuga Sundram said ample time would be given. “We will not shut them immediately. We will follow proper procedures,” he said.
Regulating the industry
Plans are on the anvil to categorise hostels as an industry and to bring everything under single window clearance.
“The aim is to regulate this industry,” he said.
According to the Tamil Nadu Hostels and Home for Women and Children (Regulation) Act, 2015, all women and children’s hostels must be registered with the respective district collectorate. In December 2018, the Chennai Collector mandated that all hostels must be registered with immediate effect, failing which they cannot continue their business. In Chennai, the hostel business is highly unorganised and has an estimated turnover of over ₹1,000 crore per annum.