Will Rent Boosting Coaching Centres Move Out Of Residential Areas?
Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL), the Delhi high court recently served notices to the Delhi government departments for mushrooming of professional coaching institutes in residential areas of the national capital.
The court said that not only are these posing a threat to women's safety, they are also causing traffic snarls in the area, especially in neighbourhoods such as Mukherjee Nagar, and Outram Lane in north Delhi.
In its March order too, the Supreme Court while turning down the plea of the All Rajasthan Coaching Institutes' Association had said the presence of coaching centres in residential areas was a nuisance to the women and the elderly and they should be shifted to commercial or institutional areas.
What constitutes commercial activity?
If zoning rules allow it, you can use your residential property for commercial activity. However, states have different sets of rules on conversion of residential property to commercial property. Some states allow up to 30 per cent area of a house to be put to commercial use by professionals such as doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants, but others do not.
It is to be noted that there are certain professions that have been exempted from this. Typically, if you are running a teaching, painting, yoga, dance or tuition classes from your premises, you would not be liable to pay commercial charges.
Master Plan for Delhi-2021: The Master Plan for Delhi-2021 seeks to provide relief to people from sealing and demolitions by addressing several concerns pertaining to the mixed-land use and housing. Although mixed-use is not permitted in Luytens' Delhi, or Civil Lines Bungalow Zone, there is no bar on coaching centres elsewhere in the city.
In its preface, the government recognises the fact that a number of coaching centres and computer training institutes have opened up and affirms that “suitable provision for such centres in commercial areas is desirable with a view to enhancing the financial resources of the land-owning agency”.
The Section 15.7.1 of the Master Plan says: “Coaching centres other than those imparting structured courses leading directly to the award of a degree or a diploma or conducting classes such as a regular school are permitted.”
It also states that mixed-land use in urban areas will be permitted where commercial activity in residential areas has been existing prior to 1962.
Huge rental market
The primary reason why a large number of coaching centres have burgeoned in north Delhi is due to the presence of the Delhi University's North Campus. Property owners living in the area are making a killing in the name of rent and other related businesses as the area see a large influx of students every year.
Sugandha Taneja, who takes classes at a private IAS coaching institute in Mukherjee Nagar, says, “I am an undergraduate at Hindu College and stay at Maurice Nagar. The presence of a large number of coaching institutes in the vicinity always helps. They charge competitive prices and teachers are good. Why should I go to any other part of the city to take the same coaching?”
It's certain that these illegal centres have expanded in the city owing to the collusion of civic officials with the coaching centres' owners. The anomaly in the definition of a coaching centre and the exemption given to certain sections, too, has contributed to the concentration of such centres in one area. Unless government acts on the erring property owners, these centres of learning will continue to be a headache for the neighbours.
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