HP NEWS SERVICE
Shillong, Jul 2: Hostel owners and operators of the city have urged the State government to amend the rules of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 in view of the recent notification directing them not to charge fees from students.
In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong today, the Shillong Hostel Owners and Operators Association (SHOOA) opined that Chapter XI (64) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 should be amended thereby allowing them to at least collect some minimal fees from those hostellers who are still using the hostel facilities in order to bring some relief to them as they have already been financially affected by the effects of lockdown on account of Covid-19.
The SHOOA also urged the State government to extend some financial support to hostel owners.
In the memorandum, the association also said that these hostels cater to the needs of those educational institutions that are not able to provide accommodation to the students and to those parents who have entrusted them with the responsibility of taking care of their college-going children thus bridging the gap of them being away from home.
“The parents are well aware of the fee structure which includes waiving off mess fees during the vacation in case the students go home,” the association said.
The SHOOA also informed that the hostel business is only seasonal for approximately eight months.
It also said that with the ongoing lockdown, the hostel owners are forced to apply the vacation rules to those students who have gone home leaving behind their belongings and books in their respective hostels under the care of the hostel owners.
“It will be burdensome for us to abide with the rules as laid down in the notification,” SHOOA member Batskhem Marbaniang said after meeting Tynsong.
“Our own children studying outside the State are not given any concession as such neither in their respective institutions/school/colleges, hostels or rent houses even though they have also returned home during the lockdown period,” Marbaniang said.
He also informed that most of the hostel owners have taken loans for construction of their hostels and also a majority of the hostel operators have taken the premises where they run the hostels on rent.
“But it is not clearly mentioned in the order as to whether the same is applicable to the landlords not to seek rent from their tenants,” Marbaniang said.
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