Sunday, February 14, 2010

Youth yet to connect with development

Youth yet to connect with development

Erratic internet links, poor public transport system, and frequent power and water shortages act as hurdles

Thousands of youth living in Bommanahalli's civic wards feel luckier than others for the profusion of provisions aimed at making their life more comfortable. They admit they have everything here. But they still sadly miss the nightlife of MG Road, Brigade Road, Majestic and other core city areas. They blame it on the utter negligence on the part of the administration, writes Soumya Menon

Soumya Menon



Bangalore's very own industrial revolution changed agrarian Bommanahalli constituency forever. Ask the residents, they will tell the story of transformation.
"If a person revisits Bommanahalli today after 10 years, he'd find it difficult to spot the old locales. So much has changed and so many comforts have come up," says Aishwarya Kannan, a young project manager of a software firm and resident of Bommanahalli ward. "Snakes used to enter homes not long ago," she adds.
"Today, this constituency has become a hub of multinational firms, educational institutions, numerous skyscrapers, supermarkets, malls and what not. But, we still face problems such as erratic power supply, lack of public transport and security, and stray dogs," says Aishwarya.
Bommanahalli's nine wards — HSR Layout, Bommanahalli, Jaraganahalli, Puttenahalli, Bilekahalli, Hongasandra, Mangammanapalya, Singasandra and Arakere — have seen tremendous growth in the last decade. The constituency has three lakes, Begur lake, Madiwala lake and Puttenahalli lake. But unlike Ulsoor lake, these water sources remain neglected. A few years ago, they caused floods in nearby areas. Subsequently, the government has started civil works to improve all the major storm water drains in the area.
On a day-to-day basis, residents of at least five wards put their fingers on one problem: bad connectivity, transport and communication. "In this age of internet and technology, areas such as HSR Layout, and Arakere suffer from bad connectivity. Internet connection remains at best whimsical. Power shortage is adding to the woes," says Seema S, a student and resident of HSR Layout.
"This whole area has developed, yes, but we still face acute shortage of drinking water. We depend on tankers and spend a lot of money on that," says Rakesh Soman, a marketing executive from HSR Layout.
The situation in Arakere, Bilekahalli, and Puttenahalli is not markedly different from HSR Layout. These areas house lakhs of young aspirants from different corners of the country and they face problems of poor connectivity and water shortage.
Arakere, Bilekahalli and Puttenahalli, connected to Bannerghatta Road, have big townships such as L&T South City, Brigade Millennium, Mantri group's apartments and leading hospitals such as Wockhardt and Apollo. Top builders have left their footprints there.
The constituency is also home to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). It also houses Accenture, Honeywell and other software firms. There are commercial establishments and eateries like Pizza Hut, Dominoes Pizza and multi-cuisine restaurants and stores like Food World, Spencers and Reliance.
All this does not seem to be enough for the young brigade. They feel they do not have a good life mostly because nightlife is missing. They claim that although there are restaurants and recreational places in the locality, they miss the ambience that helps them get together and hang out.
Youth, both students and freshers in the jobs, say they go to Koramangala, Indiranagar, MG Road or Brigade Road to watch a film or enjoy a drink.
"There are no theatres in the area and people have to travel at least 15km to reach a theatre," says Ashwini Ramachandran, a law student from Arakere. Residents complain in one voice that police are not undertaking night patrolling. Some parts of Arakere have private security but not all can afford that," says Suhasini Iyer, a young yoga instructor and resident of Brigade Millennium in Puttenahalli.
The Mico Layout Residents' Welfare Association president, Anand A, says lack of security at night is a serious problem for women. Water shortage and faulty drainage system are other issues. Aditi R, a young advocate who stays alone in Mico Layout, claims police have been negligent on night security. "Numerous cases of burglary and thefts take place in this part but no action is taken to prevent their reccurrence," says Aditi.
The 'revolution' has sent the land price in Bommanahalli soaring. It costs a fortune in areas near Hosur Main Road, which is an IT corridor.
For people like Stalin D'Souza, a resident of Arakere Mico Layout, who travels over 30km every day on bike, road digging is the main bane. "We don't know when the roads get dug up and traffic gets diverted. How can we travel easily?" asks Stalin. He also carps at the lack of bus connectivity within the wards and outside.
"Why are street dogs allowed to proliferate?" ask some residents. "They come out in packs at night howling and barking incessantly. You can't go out even on an emergency," says Sam Paul, a student. He volunteers to help the Palike if it earnestly tries to put an end to this menace.

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