Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gen X is restless in gandhinagar

Gen X is restless in gandhinagar

Youth of Gandhinagar are an unhappy lot. They feel their aspirations are being trampled upon and elders don't care. The constituency, as a whole, remains a pariah of civic planners whose focus is on development of new areas. This place feeds the city and yetis starved of modernfacilities, saysMonica Jha

Home to floating population, it has miles to go to serve their new needs

Monica Jha



Debunking the language battle, huge cutouts of Kannada cine stars stand cheek by jowl with that of Tamil and Bollywood heroes displaying six-pack abs. And long queues before the movie houses announce the station: Gandhinagar.
Anyone in the line-up for ticket-seekers, the young Girish Rao, for instance, is an authority on Kannada and Telugu films. Ask Rao how many films Vishnuvardhan had acted in or what was the record-breaking mega hit film of Chiru. He knows the answers.
The Gandhinagar assembly constituency houses the old Bangalore area, known as the hub of Kannada film industry — the Sandalwood headquarters with a large number of cinema theatres. The industry has also a sort of permanent venue for filmy meets near Tribhuvan cinema. But Gandhinagar's other constituents, Subhashnagar, Okalipuram, Chickpet, Cottonpet, and Binnypet, have not got that aura.
Senior residents of the constituency are fond of recalling the good old days of handloom and paper industry that had once flourished here. Once a prosperous business hub, the area is now known for its densely populated, narrow alleys, where one goes only for wholesale and sometimes economical shopping. The shopping area is congested with workplaces-cum-residences or purely residential areas.
Gandhinagar looks like a country that lost its race with time and progress. One may miss the signs of the city's progress while taking a walk around the area. Chickpet, Binnypet and Cottonpet do not represent the best of Bangalore in terms of infrastructure development. Other areas in the constituency like Kumara Park West, Sheshadripuram and Gandhinagar have not been developed to their potential.
The youth of the area are flummoxed. They can't stop wondering why their area lacks infrastructure in spite of its glorious past and its significant contribution to the city in terms of revenue, identity and history.
"Our area is like the soldiers on the front. They are forgotten once you get the best out of them and leave them disabled for life. The city planners are focusing on development of newer areas. They do not seem to be bothered about our constituency as it will require a lot more thinking and planning to do things in this congested and dirty area. But what they ought to think is who made this area filthy and why the wards are so congested. We feed the rest of the city supplying (wholesale) goods in fair price and thus help small businesses as well. What do we get in return?" asks Sujeeth KN, an engineering student.
While the area is known for its passion for the cinema, youth in the area still crave for a decent theatre. K Rajan, a medical student from Gandhinagar, wants to point out the incongruity of his area being the centre of Sandalwood, and yet, lacking a decent theatre.
"Despite being the hub of cinema in Bangalore, we do not have a decent cinema hall here. Why should we be satisfied with the aging old-fashioned cinema halls, when the entire city is enjoying multi-screens and high-end audio systems?" asks Rajan.
"Our locality is backward if you compare its facilities with that of new Bangalore. What was offered to us in the name of development were numerous road humps, traffic jams and one-ways," Sangeetha Kumar B, a BBM student, says in a derisive tone to show her disappointment.
Youth in six of seven civic wards have plenty of quarrels with the BBMP. "There is no hangout for the youth here. If you want to spend some time with your friends over a cup of coffee, you have to go to either Malleswaram or Cunnigham Road," says Vinutha, a software engineer and resident of Sheshadripuram.
"Why coffee?" chips in Sneha Shah, a teacher in Sheshadripuram who was listening to the youths' complaints. "Even for an internet browsing centre, one has to walk at least a kilometre in Sheshadripuram. And they call it a Cyber City of Asia!"
If modern facilities for the Gen X are missing, safety is no better either. Many lanes do not have street lights, making them ideal places for muggers. There is no police patrolling in the night.

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