The only playground in Jaraganahalli along Kanakpura Road has been causing concern among residents due to continuing vandalism and lack of maintenance. The slides and swings for kids to play on have been damaged, reportedly due to rough use by older people, while the benches too have been broken and the jogging track is covered with weeds and grass.
Mani M, a resident for the past five years and father of two children says that children are disappointed when they are taken to the playground as they cannot play there. "Moreover, even if we want to just sit down and relax, the stink of animal waste dumped there by the meat stalls is unbearable," he said.
Mani further said that Navaratri celebrations earlier this month too has added to the garbage dump here. “This is the only open public space in this area, so people pay rent to BBMP officials (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) to host events there,” he said, adding that the organisers this time failed to clean up after the celebrations. “Someone burnt a lot of the waste dumped in the middle of the playground, and after the rains, the place is a terrible mess.”
“This is the only playground that we have in this area, but most of the children who live here are unable to avail the facility,” said Sreelatha, a housewife, who has been a resident of the area for the past eight years. She complained that the playground is mainly used by slum children in the vicinity. “Parents are hesitant to send their children to play as there have been instances where the slum children and other children have picked up fights,” she said and added that even the gate is broken and remains unlocked. It is also a hot spot for men who enjoy a drink or two after dark, making the stretch unsafe for women to walk by.
Vinod Kumar N, who grew up in the locality said, “Even now I play cricket here. But it’s very dangerous as there are many pits that had been dug up for rainwater harvesting and have not been covered. Many have fallen into them, getting hurt.” Residents told City Express that complaints to authorities have fallen on deaf ears.
“There’s no point in two or three people going to the corporator; you need a group of at least 20 people, but while everyone grumbles, no one wants to talk to the authorities,” said Vinod. Despite repeated attempts, the corporator of Jaraganahalli (Ward 186) remained unavailable for comment.