Like charity, solutions to problems also begin at home, or from the neighbourhood. At least when it comes to designating space for children to play.
Malviya Nagar, Saket, Sheikh Sarai and Sarvpriya Vihar, areas that are struggling to find that space, should take a hint from the nearby Chittaranjan Park and Greater Kailash I. Both have achieved that fine balance between finding space for adults and children in a single park.
Toddlers, children and joggers happily co-exist in every block of Chittaranjan Park, which has parks for children, women and senior citizens. Its Mela Ground is a standing example where one park can cater to the needs of people across all age groups.
A section of the Mela Ground has been set aside for children and toddlers to play in, while the other half has been earmarked for keen footballers and cricketers. The park is often let out for public functions and the annual Durga Puja celebrations. Running along its perimeter is a walkway used by joggers. And several such parks are scattered all over the colony.
Greater Kailash I too has taken the same approach. "The park in E Block is slightly more than one acre wide and has space for everyone. It has an ornamental section for the elderly, a playground with tennis and basketball courts, a toddler section with swings and a pathway along the periphery for joggers," said Rajiv Kakria of GK-I RWA.
"Everyone who plays in a park doesn't become an Olympian but every Olympian has played in a park. Kids need playgrounds and senior citizens need a place to sit. You need to find solutions instead of knee-jerk reactions," he added.
The Chittaranjan Park RWA had earlier faced been stiff opposition when it had decided to earmark certain parks as playgrounds but they persisted. Now there are plans to construct a sports facility for older children in the area. "The RWAs have put in a lot of effort so that space is allotted for children to play. If a park is earmarked as a playground, anyone can use it," said PK Roy, ex-secretary, EPDP Association.
Another way out is the speeding up of the process of opening school playgrounds for neighbourhood children. Initiated a few months ago by then union sports minister Ajay Maken, the scheme when implemented would open a new avenue for children to play.
Then there are the bigger parks that are ill-maintained and/or have been taken over by drug addicts and miscreants. A proactive approach by the police would go a long way in solving the problem.