Broken poles, missing nets and undergrowth: DDA's lofty ambitions two years on
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Broken poles, missing nets and undergrowth: DDA's lofty ambitions two years on

Certainly not a play field, by the look of it!

Broken poles, missing nets and undergrowth: DDA's lofty ambitions two years on The vacant plot in Sector 14

In 2015, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) embarked upon one of its most ambitious projects — to build playgrounds on vacant lands across Delhi. What’s the progress so far? Zilch!

So what’s standing in the way? DDA’s habitual lack of commitment.

The surfaces have not been levelled or cleaned; and some places have wild undergrowth.


The ground at Sector 14 in May


The ground in Sector 14 was to be developed as a football field with goal posts and nets, and also two volleyball courts with poles. Now the nets are missing and the poles are rusty and damaged.

Another ground in Sector 3 is in the same state — it is now occupied by vagrants.  

A DDA press release (dated 02.03.2016) read: “Vacant plots, numbering 15, have been identified so far, and [they] are being levelled and cleared. Sports equipment like football goal posts, volleyball poles [and others] are being erected and sports equipment for football, cricket and volleyball is being provided periodically to the children free of cost by DDA. Almost all identified plots have been taken up for development and four fields have already been operationalised at Neb Sarai, Maidan Garhi, Paschim Vihar and Dwarka. Another five such playfields in East Delhi have been operationalised, taking total [number] of operational fields to nine. More sites are likely to be identified, so that vacant sites are utilised fruitfully.”


The same ground in July


Till date, DDA has identified 26 such vacant plots. But that is where the process ends.

City Spidey spoke to RWAs across the city for a reality check.

RWA president of Radhika Apartments in Sector 14, SS Chowhan, said, “This is a big ground — and if maintained, can be of great utility. Children of our society play there. Other children, too, use this ground. But the ground is full of concrete and stones —you can also see garbage and broken glass bottles everywhere. It’s not safe to play there, unless cleaned and levelled.” 

The field in Sector 3 is a similar picture of negligence.


The field at Sector 3


Vishal Rishi, a resident of the sector, said, “Children can’t play here. The surface is uneven, and the ground is often used by vagrants. Unfortunately, people openly consume liquor and gamble here.”

And as expected, DDA officials are unaware about the ground reality — or simply choose to ignore it. They were required to monitor the work, but that’s far from the truth.

What did the DDA chief engineer, projects, AK Garg, have to say? “Let me ask the officials for a status update. Needful steps will be taken to rectify the problem.”

Indeed, sir!