Friday, January 29, 2010

Biz ventures from homes trouble residents

Biz ventures from homes trouble residents

Several pockets of upmarket residential areas have turned into commercial hubs due to lack of an upgraded market place, soaring real estate prices and demand for services like fitness centres

Monica Jha

Samantha hates using the lift during the weekends. For she has to wait for long as it keeps going up and down loading and offloading hordes of young visitors to her apartment building in Frazer town. Life was going smoothly for her till a few enterprising citizens opened a spa in the residential building.
"I don't know if they have the licence to operate from here. But they seem to be doing good business. There's a steady stream of clients, especially during the weekends. But this also created a huge problem for us. They do not have a separate elevator for customers and we have to wait a good 10 minutes to get the lift," says Samantha.
Commercial ventures operating from homes are troubling residents living in high-rise apartments and individual homes in the upmarket areas of Pulakeshinagar constituency. Besides spas, beauty salons and clinics, gyms, fitness centres, and dance schools have invaded the privacy of residents living here.
People, who started these ventures, say they are inspired by the good response.
According to them, lack of an upgraded market place, soaring real estate prices and big demand for the services have forced them to start operating their businesses from homes.
Initially, these services were confined to the elite class of the society. But gradually, clients from the middle-class too joined them. And the result: overcrowded lifts and constant traffic snarls outside.
Parking is a big bone of contention between the owners of such establishments and the residents.
"My neighbour runs a beauty clinic. We don't mind her operating from her house but her customers park their vehicles all over the road, sometimes in front of my gate, blocking my way. The road in front of our houses is narrow and we find it difficult to drive on this road. Even walking becomes a painful exercise," says Sulochana Prakashraj, an HR manager with an MNC.
Besides spas and beauty salons, there are illegal pre-schools and other services operating from these apartments.
"My neighbours run a dance school. There is loud music and a stream of people going in and out. It's difficult to keep a check on who is entering the building. There is a constant fear of anti-social people entering the area in the disguise of dance students. We often see strange people loitering," says Hemantha N, a software engineer.
"Initially, it was quite nice to see tiny tots coming to my neighbour's house. I, sometimes, used to go there and play with them. But then I found that those running the school had no intention to keep the kids under control. Their loud steps and music which went on for hours soon became a headache for me," says Maria of Frazer Town.
Apartment owners want these businesses enquired into and properly licensed so they follow the rules instead of making life difficult for residents. "Nobody knows the quality and credibility of these services," says a lawyer who lives opposite Frazer Town police station. Those running them, however, are not readily communicative and they say things are all in order.


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