Monday, February 01, 2010

Youth seek more recreation, fun

Youth seek more recreation, fun

Rajajinagar has failed to listen to the aspirations of elder residents too

Rajajinagar, comprising seven civic wards, reveals the mismatch between the existing infrastructure and the dreams of the upward-looking youth. Once a sleepy residential area, it is now a booming mixture of homes and commercial complexes. The Gen X wants the authorities to give them a Commercial Street or Brigade Road, writes Monica Jha

Monica Jha

Who is responsible for this 'non-development'? "There is zero option for recreation for the big, well-off population spread over Rajajinagar," complains Yamini Madhusudan, a young resident of Rajajinagar.
"Imagine how big a carbon footprint is kicked up and how much time and money people spend travelling to MG Road or Brigade Road just for a drink or a continental meal with good music. Why can't we have the same facilities here? There is a huge youngish population here which demands a good life," she says.
Rajajinagar assembly constituency enveloping Dayananda Nagar, Prakash Nagar, Rajajinagar, Basaveshwara Nagar, Kamakshipalya, Shivanagara, and Sriramamandir wards, has a significant population of people from North Karnataka in many pockets. Over the years, it has grown from a middle-class residential area into a residential-cum-commercial establishment hub, putting pressure on infrastructure meant for just a few thousand residents.
But the commercial ventures have not kept pace with the changing contours of Bangalore. No wonder, the varied needs of the affluent young, and their yearning for a good life remain unfulfilled. "The magnificent villas you see today are not mere houses but houses of aspirations," says Mahesh Manoli, a young landscape consultant.
The reason, says Mahesh, for Rajajinagar having a substantial young population is because of the presence of a large number of educational institutions where they study and get employed in the southern part of the city.
Most young professionals question the urban planning and business people who do not care for the needs of the people around. "Don't the young in Basaveshwara Nagar love to dance? They definitely do," says Navneetha LK, a software professional and resident of Basaveshwara Nagar.
"But the question is, where? Going to the upmarket involves budgeting for not just bigger sum but readiness to get sucked by the snarling traffic, and thereby wasting one's precious time. And, more than that, think of the trouble one must face finding a parking space," says she.
Navneetha puts parking above all others when one motors down to the city. "We had occasions when we found after the dinner that our vehicles had been towed away," says she.
"Hundreds of techies stay in Rajajinagar as paying guests but hardly had anybody bothered about the plight of these youths who are uprooted from their homes and thrown into the whirlpool of the city without proper accommodation, food and entertainment," says Meenakshi Kokari, a student staying at a PG on West of Chord Road.
If the youth cry for a good life, elders lament over lack of walking space. "Narrow and quiet roads in the residential layouts have become crowded with the increasing pressure of traffic. Footpaths either do not exist or are too narrow, broken, or encroached," say many residents who have stopped walking the stretch fearing traffic and pollution thrown up by the Metro rail project.
Most independent houses in the area have no place for parking their own vehicles. "The main road has no space for car parking. Shoppers also park their cars in the residential area off the main road. The narrow alleys get chocked after a few cars are parked," says Anand Kumar, resident of Rajajinagar V Block.
Speeding bikes
For once, the youth are blamed for this ill. "God," exclaims Shanthala BS, a PR executive and resident of Rajajinagar. "This whole locality used to be silent and green. Today, the worst problem is traffic and the youth who resort to cheap stunts with their altered machines. They zoom about like many artillery guns booming at once," she says. Dismissing suggestions of seeking police help, Shanthala says, "Police don't take it seriously."
Anyone you speak to in Rajajinagar and surrounding areas will not fail to hear complaints against the Metro work that claims greenery, and creates air and noise pollution. Metro work has occupied at least one-third of the arterial road space leaving a ribbon of the road where numerous vehicles vie with one another for wheel space. Parking has been banned on the roads where metro work is going on. Diversion leads to more gridlock and it creates a cascading effect on the whole scenario.

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