Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trapped by the lure of high life

Trapped by the lure of high life

Mahadevapura offers little comforts for hardworking IT professionals and students

A big young population put up in the civic wards of Mahadevapura spends and spurs the city's economy. But they feel badly let down by all. Everybody wants to grab their money but no one is willing to sort out their problems, bewail the wizkids of India who help in bringing in massive foreign exchange, writes Monica Jha

Monica Jha



"True, we have a mall in Whitefield which is not considered a happening place. But we can't boast of having a mall here like Forum in Koramangala. Why should we settle for anything less? We deserve the very best because we work hard and contribute to the well-being of this city," says Vishu Victor, an angry young software engineer living in Marathahalli.
Four of the eight civic wards of Mahadevapura have large concentrations of youth who are either students or the workforce of IT-BPO firms. When one talks with them individually, all their feelings pour out. Apart from introducing air-conditioned Volvo buses, authorities have done little for their welfare, say the working youth.
Whitefield, Marathahalli, Kadugodi, and the surroundings have hundreds of multinational leviathans that employ thousands of young hands. This south-east part rural assembly constituency, now being turned into an urban vista, lends much to Bangalore's sobriquet as the Silicon Valley of India. But, the work force, majority of them in the age group of 20 to 30, have so far had no forum to get their needs addressed.
Lack of recreation facilities tops the list of their grievances. "True, I don't have to travel to MG Road for grocery but then that's the end of the tale. Don't we need a place to unwind? Don't we need a mug of beer after five days of hard work?" asks Prathap GN, a software engineer working at ITPB and residing in Whitefield.
"This place is being turned into a concrete jungle. Planners think buildings constitute facilities. What a pity!" says Madhumohan, who works with an American BPO in Whitefield. "Everybody in this part is out to rob the youth working with IT companies thinking they get a fortune as salary. It is wrong. We do get a decent salary but then we put up with long hours of nerve-wracking work," he adds.
"Considering the huge young population in this part, it lacks facilities for relaxation and creation," says Vasantha Parameshwara, a software engineer and resident of Brookefield. "After working hard for five days, I must travel 10km to have a drink in a pub. God forbid if I yearn for a dance. I am then considered as weird."
But many youths are tolerant, though. "The area is fast developing into an industrial hub and it may offer the facilities required for a working population. The facilities in this part of the city don't represent the overwhelmingly young working population," says Anand S, a student of MVJ College of Engineering.
"The working youth may be impatient, but there is no pulling back this place from its onward march," observes Raju Mistry, an architect living in Purva Fountain. "Whitefield and the five-km radius have the line-up of the world's best knowledge companies. ITPB alone has over 145 companies employing over 20,000 people. This invariably causes jams on all major roads in the area during peak hours," he says.
Surprisingly, there are very few institutions here catering to the needs of the young preparing for top competitive exams.
"The student community needs study centres for preparing for various competitive exams. They don't have many options here," says Swarnalatha Sree, an engineering student.
Lack of sufficient hotels and restaurants with a relaxing ambience, lack of recreation facilities, high rents charged by house owners, unsympathetic police and lack of security top the long list of grievances of the working youth in Mahadevapura constituency.
Lack of security for night shift workers is an issue most youth complain of. The area has a massive floating population and some elements take advantage of lax security. Youth who work on night-shifts face antisocial elements while returning home in the wee hours. Although many companies have pick-up and drop facilities, some impatient youth hitch a ride to get home early. These are the people marked and mugged by criminals. Police say the floating population has made their job difficult as they come and go, leaving no trace behind.
"The IT industry has brought lot of expatriates into the area, many of them working here on a short-term basis. But the area does not take care of them," says Garry Peters, an American working for an IT MNC and currently posted at its Whitefield branch.

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