Bhawan Gandhi | Thursday, December 23, 2010 – (THe Times Of India, New Delhi)
Gurgaon; several efforts have been made to convert Gurgaon into a green city by planting trees and beautifying parks. But this beautification effort has snatched away from the kids their green play areas. With vigilant residents stressing on maintaining greenery in parks, kids in Gurgaon are left with no option but to play on the streets.
Ten-year old Anuveer Singh, a resident of DLF phase II, now prefers cycling over other sports because he is no longer allowed to play inside the parks.
“Whenever my friends and I go to play in the M Block Park, someone or the other asks us not to play there. So we have to play either on the roads or on vacant plots. The plots have stray dogs so now I go cycling after my studies and also visit the nearby club on the weekends.”
The RWA members assert that kids should not be allowed to play inside parks as their sporting activities damage plants and saplings.
“we are not stopping the kids from entering the parks, but playing is strictly prohibited here. Many people come here for walks and Yoga classes and sporting activities also cause inconvenience to them,” said Suresh Sharma, a resident of DLF phase I.
Parents, however, are disappointed with this step and say it is not possible for them to take their kids to stadiums and clubs on an everyday basis.
Kavita Sodhi, mother of an 11 year old boy said, “The RWA members are senior citizens and hence they are stressing a lot on beautifying the park and green belts. They must also understand that the city is in dire need of play areas for kids. I live in Sushant Lok Phase I and my child has no other option than to play on the ground near the community center.”
Sudhir Kapoor; general secretary of DLF city RWA said, “It is true that the kids are not allowed to play in the parks, but we have found a solution to it. The residents have identified some vacant plots in the different phases, which can be used as playgrounds by the kids. These plots are lying unused till construction work on the plots begins.”
The problem is prominent not only in the privately developed colonies, but also in the HUDA sectors.
Kiran Anand, a resident of sector 31 said, “kids are often seen playing on roads in our colony. There is a serious risk of accidents involved in this. Many kids get hurt in minor accidents on the roads, but there is no way we can stop them from playing. We really need some safe play areas for our children.”
Vivek Kamboj, founder of Haryali, an NGO promoting greenery in the city, said, “In order to maintain greenery in the city, we should concentrate more on the green belts rather than depriving children of their play areas. Sporting activities are important for growing kids stopping them from playing is not a good idea.”
HUDA administrator Nitin Yadav said, “Although kids are not allowed to play in parks, they still manage to sneak in and play there. Also, there are several stadiums in the city and HUDA sectors have clubs that have play areas as well. Serious sports are meant to be played in the stadiums only.”
No child’s play: with vigilant residents stressing on maintaining greenery in parks, kids in Gurgaon are increasingly left without play space