Monday, February 15, 2010

The canvas is big but not the colour

The canvas is big but not the colour

Residency of a former prime minister has not saved Padmanabhanagar from the common ills other areas of the city are facing. The eight civic wards are witnessing commercial growth but youth feel badly let down as there is no scope for them to spend quality time together and nurture their creative skills, writes Srikanth Hunasavadi

Padmanabhanagar is good to look at and bad when it comes to amenities, feel the young

Srikanth Hunasavadi

There is urgency. There are indeed signs of development. Road asphalting work is nearing completion, drains are being constructed and streetlights are burning bright. Padmanabhanagar constituency is getting overhauled. But the emotional integration is still not strong at community level.
"It's time we give up niceties and spoke the stark truth," says Pankaj Lode, a 24-year-old BPO employee. "We work at night but police treat us like thieves. They let go of the thieves but legitimate employees like me get picked up for flimsy reasons."
"Yes," agrees RN Lal, another employee working with a call centre. "Police ill-treat us to extract money. They often shower us with profanities in Kannada," Lal says with angst in his voice.
Parnav HS, working in a software firm, chips in. "Instead of harassing the legitimate workers and students, the police should attend to crime prevention. Why don't they make roads safer for people working at night?" he asks.
Safety and police behaviour are not the only complaints of youth. To BG Sourabha, an MBBS student, unannounced power cuts are irritating. "The government claims Bangalore has only two hours of load-shedding but we routinely face five to six hours of outages. My studies have suffered due to this, but whom should I complain to?" she asks.
The youth of Padmanabhanagar feel they live in a make-believe world where massive buildings and imposing bridges look good. "Our area," observes Neha M, an IT professional, "looks developed. But we face problems like bad roads, water shortage, unscheduled power cuts, and stray dog menace. We also don't have modern amenities for entertainment."
The Gen X is mainly unhappy because they do not find avenues for socialising or relaxing with their colleagues or friends.
"Eateries and Cafe Coffee Day outlets have come up here and there," says N Indrani, a resident of Yediur. "But we miss the ambience of a good multiplex, mall or shopping complexes, where branded goods are available."
"We are not asking for the sky, for heaven's sake," says Rajalakshmi Priya, a post-graduate in commerce. "For lakhs of students and working people in this constituency, there is not even one cinema house here. Why cinema house, no theatre, no good garden restaurant where friends can hang out once in a while. There is no place to celebrate a birthday or a cultural fest. Don't we need these things?" she asks.
Padmanabhanagar assembly was carved up in 2008. It comprises eights wards. This is today one of the major constituencies in the southern part of the city with fast growing commercial interests.
There is a promise of signal-free corridor from Kanakapura Road junction to Nayandahalli near Mysore Road. Interestingly, this was the geographical spread of the constituency before the delimitation process.
All the civic wards display urban trappings but civic authorities are blamed for allowing open spaces to be taken by avaricious people bent on making profits and utter neglect of amenities.
"Corruption breeds illegalities, and illegalities lead to a miserable civic life," says Surya Prakash, a degree student staying in Chikkalsandra. Most residents blame the present situation on civic corruption and ineptitude.
The constituency boasts of celebrity resident HD Deve Gowda's presence. His mansion is located at Hanumagiri. The petrol bunk named after him is a major landmark on Ring Road.
The constituency does not lack in educational institutions, hospitals and temples. Businessmen have no reason to complain. Areas such as Kathriguppe, Kadirenahalli, and Thimmaiah Road, which were devoid of commercial activities, have grown along with the emergence of a large number of shops.
While good life is what the youth lack, elderly residents of Chikkalsandra and neighbouring areas complain of lack of sanitation. Lack of drainage and storm water drains have proved a curse for many areas especially in low-lying parts of Hanumagiri. They were flooded badly in 2005.
Bharathi, a resident of Veerabhadra Nagar, says rotting garbage is posing a health hazard to residents. "Sometimes, one sees leftovers and plastic waste rotting for days on the roadside and vacant plots. Stray dogs feast on them and mosquitoes breed. Children fall ill frequently due to this menace," she says.

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