New Delhi, July 4 : The national capital's Rajinder Nagar is a buzzing locality of aspiring youngsters who come here to get coached for their future. They not only dot every length and breadth of the Delhi locality, but collectively drive the area's economy. Today, with nearly 80 per cent of them gone, the area is not only wrapped in an eerie silence, but the areas economy too has dried up significantly.
Ask Rajat Sapra, who runs a dhaba in Old Rajinder Nagar that he fondly named 'Friend Restaurant', and he will answer, "Previously, we used to have 100 to 150 students coming to eat everyday. Now, we are left with barely 20 per cent of the orders, including those that we get from online sales." He added, "Before the lockdown and particularly during Unlcok 1.0, most of them had gone back home. We have 50-60 dhabas in this locality. But we had more street vendors who would sell food here. None of them are here anymore." Empty streets, economy dried up and the buzz gone, Rajinder Nagar, which was known for the youth who stayed here, resembles a ghost town now.
Praveen, who preferred only to give his first name, coordinates the KSG Institute. Ask him the reason and pat he will answer, "From June 19, we started online classes. There used to be around 600 students who used to come for coaching. But now, all have shifted to online classes." The KSG Institute is not alone. There are approximately 50 coaching centres around the area that trains thousands of students for competitive exams like the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
While the students going back haven't hurt the coaching centres, but they have hurt the rest, including the real estate agents who broker rent deals for them.
Sahil Bachani, who owns one such outlet at Sad Guru Kirpa Properties, told IANS, "If you ask me, there's not even 1,000 students left out of 5,000 students in the radius of 3.5 km." Another broker, Ashok Agarwal, said that students who left in a hurry before the lockdown returned during Unlock 1.0, only to take back their belongings and return home.
In old Rajinder Nagar, there are more than 63 blocks which have more than 630 houses. There are approximately 7,560 rooms, where a large number of students used to stay.
One broker claims, the collective loss in brokerage in the area comes to the tune of Rs 4 crore.
With libraries shut, vendors vanishing, classrooms which shifted to the online mode and minimal eateries opening, Rajinder Nagar is not just braving the loss of income, but is adjusting to a more silent, empty neighborhood that it hasn't seen in decades.