Even when children in Dwarka are struggling to find safe playgrounds to play outdoors, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) seems to be in no mood to deliver on its promise of developing dedicated kids’ playgrounds in Sectors 5, 11 and 12.
Keeping up with the sporting spirit of the Commonwealth Games that were held in the capital in 2010, DDA had, at the time, promised the residents of Dwarka to develop ample playfields for children in selected parks.
According to sources, then Vice Chairman of DDA, SN Srivastav, had approved a list of playfields to be developed in selected parks in Dwarka. In 2012, he inaugurated two parks—one each in Sectors 22 and 23. But after that, no other project has been completed, forcing children to play in neighbourhood parks.
The Association of Neighbourhood Ladies Get-Together (ANHLGT) had suggested DDA to develop at least one playfield in every sector, and even a survey was conducted by the DDA officials for that. President of ANHLGT, Cicily Kodiyan, recalled, “The VC had assured us one playfield in every sector. At that time, five parks were identified to be developed as kids’ playgrounds in Sectors, 5, 11, 12, 22 and 23. But except the two in Sectors 22 and 23, no other playground has come up."
DDA officials say that the transfer of senior officers who were working on the project has made matters worse. “The playground planned in Sector 5 can still be developed if higher officials take interest,” said a DDA officer on condition of anonymity.
With no dedicated playgrounds to play, children often play in the society or DDA parks, leading to altercations with residents and senior citizens. In one such incident on last Saturday, residents of Sector 5 had complained to the police about children playing in the DDA park.
The residents blame the authorities for such situations. “It’s the same story everywhere. Children have no place to play, but the DDA is not serious about developing new playgrounds. At present, there is only one Sports Complex in Dwarka and it can’t accommodate all the children,” said NN Singh, a resident of Sector 4.
Meanwhile, the residents are worried that they might even lose the two playfields in Sectors 22 and 23. These playgrounds have a large area and are fitted with facilities like sitting stand, rain shelter, pavilion and toilets. But now up to 3 acres of these parks has been transferred to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and their officials are not aware about the concept of play area. A resident of New Millennium Apartments, Sector 23, Ramanjit Suri, said, “The play area in our sector is extremely popular with children. But recently a board has been erected there by SDMC saying that the playground is a park. We, along with ANHLGT, would raise this subject with SDMC to keep the field as kids’ playground only.”