A budding cricketer and an opening batsman of his team, Parth Kashyap has just returned home after a match-winning performance that helped his team win the school-level tournament.
The seven-year-old needs regular practice to play like his idol Virat Kohli. As it turns out, there is no playground in South City-2, where he lives. “Finding a playground is tough,” Kashyap said. Fortunately for him, his school has a vast campus to allow students to hone their cricketing skills.
However, not every child, staying in South City-2, is so lucky to have open areas to play because they are not allowed to play in parks in the area, as many think “children would spoil the grass and flowering plants”.
Senior citizens and residents whose children are now grownup, restrict the children from entering the park, claimed other residents.
Therefore, in South City-2, alleys have turned into playgrounds. Streets are dotted with kids playing cricket or football in the evenings.
There are more than 25 parks in small, medium and large sizes in South City-2. The township is 15 years old with 14 blocks, having population of more than 15,000. This colony is spread over 210 acres in sectors 49 and 50. The community parks are all located within the blocks, and each block has about 50 to 250 children in the age group of 5-15, who are not allowed by residents to play.
A majority of parks in the area are facing the same problem.
“We are not allowed to play in the park. We are told that we will damage the plants and spoil the grass. We can’t play in the streets because of the traffic -- we have to stop the game after every few minutes. Where should we go and play?” Kashyap said. Six-year-old Neerav Sharma fractured his leg when he was hit by a motorbike while playing on the street.
At their wits end with complaints falling on deaf ears, residents of South City-2 decided to protest against the developer to find a solution. “We have so many parks in the colony, which are frequented by thousands of residents. If a few residents declare them out of bounds for kids, where will they play?” said Luxmi Krishnan, a resident of Block G.
On the other hand, senior citizens said they are not discouraging the children from playing, but want the parks to be maintained. “The park is maintained with great difficulty and children just spoil it by hitting the ball into the plants and running on the grass. We request them to play outside the park to keep the plants and grass safe,” said Anamika Singh, a resident.
“We have been trying to provide a playground for the children and simultaneously appealing to residents to allow children to play under certain guidelines. If not, we as a society are not allowing our future generations to strike a balance in their lives,” said K K Singh, secretary, RWA, South City-2.