The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Thursday announced that vacant lands owned by the agency would be converted into playgrounds for children till the time that projects aren’t assigned or executed on them.
“We are looking at this as a two-pronged strategy to provide open spaces to children and stop encroachment at the same time,” said DDA vice-chairperson Arun Goyal.
Large tracts of vacant lands in the city will be leveled and fenced for the purpose. Basic sports equipment will also provided for the benefit of children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The first phase of the plan will be to level the land. Fencing can be done later. This project will take time to get off the ground but our work has started already,” said Goyal.
The two areas that DDA has finalised on to start the project are in Neb Sarai and Maidan Garhi, both in south Delhi. According to DDA officials, both lands are about around 20 acres in area.
The DDA is also planning to provide other facilities on the temporary playgrounds. “For maintenance of these play fields, these lands would be fenced, water and electricity connection provided and amenities like drinking water, change rooms, toilets and maintenance sheds will be provided,” a statement issued by the authority said.
The authority is also planning to install equipment such as basketball poles, volleyball posts, cricket pitches, football goal posts, for the children to use free of cost. It is also exploring the possibility of engaging coaches for children.
However, this is only a temporary arrangement, clarified DDA.
“Prominent boards will be displayed to indicate they are DDA lands, along with its intended usage and that they are only an interim playground,” a DDA official said.
Several schemes for opening up sporting facilities to children have been announced in the past, including using schools’ playgrounds for children from disadvantaged backgrounds after hours. The schemes, however, were not successful.