Okhla tenants feel the heat as house rent skyrockets
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Noushu Ali/AFE, Okhla and Batla House
MAY 14, 2011: Nasimur Ali is married, but lives in Okhla in a one room set. He has no other choice as with the salary he earns he can’t afford to rent a two room set where he and his wife can stay. Ali is not alone there are thousands of people like him from the lower-middle class who don’t earn enough to rent a decent house in colonies of Okhla. Of late the rent of a three -room set has gone so high that even the middle class is feeling the heat. Even people who earn something between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 and have more than one children are facing hard times as the rent of a decent house has gone up to Rs 10,000.
A small two-room set rented house with no facility comes for something between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,000. It all depends on the locality. Agent Anis Md told OKHLA TIMES: “The rent has gone up. Even in areas like Shahin Bagh that earlier was regarded as backward with dusty roads rent has gone up. A two-room set comes for Rs 6,000 and more.”
Many tenants are deeply worried with the rising rent as most of the houses have no proper ventilation and facilities. Nadeem Ahmad, who forks out Rs 3,200 per month for one room in Shahin Bhagh, said: “I want to bring my wife and children but I cannot afford to do so as a good share of my salary will go into room rent. I won’t be able to save anything.”
He said: “Landlords don’t follow any rule. Most of them are greedy people and they don’t even think for a moment before increasing the rent. If you default on payment they just throw you out. ” Also, he pointed out the fact that most of the rented houses are crammed with small kitchens and narrow staircases and dark rooms with little fresh air coming in.
With most of the landlords paying no house taxes they don’t go for tenancy agreement, claimed a tenant Firoze Ansari. He said: “They provide no facility and take rent at par with other good colonies. As they are illiterate they don’t care about anything. They are rude and snobbish. What they are after is only money. Keep this in mind that this is happening in a Muslim-dominated locality. Muslims are ripping apart their own people. Some of them are looters. What a shame! ”
The rent of a two-room set in Okhla is equal to the one in Malviya Nagar or any other well-to-do areas of Delhi.
Farooque Md blames the tenants for overcrowding this Muslim-dominated locality. He said the landlords take benefit of the fear psychosis. “The landlords, who don’t have any other source of money, bank on rent for livelihood. Besides, they also exploit the fear of the Muslims who are desperate to live in this locality.”
Room rent and flat business are booming in Okhla. Prices of flats have also gone up with most of the Muslims from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh flocking the locality as they feel secure and safe.
Moreover, there is no regulation as authorities and builders are hands in gloves. Even local politicians are not above doubt, claimed Ali. He said: “Educated people should raise their voices against this crime. Most of the builders in the locality don’t follow any rules and regulations. Besides, they also don’t pay tax as they prefer cash in payment.” The irony is that most of the builders, who are uneducated, are minting money from educated and upper middle class people in the name of providing safety and security. But in return people end up living in shabby houses with few facilities.
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