NEW DELHI: Ever heard of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant? A similar story prevails at Nehru Nagar. There are 13 parks — belonging to South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) — but most of them are out of bound for children. Reason: Playing is not allowed at these ornamental parks.When Kushal Kashyap goes to these parks to play with his friends, locals shoo them away through ingenious tactics. "We are not allowed to play in the park near our block as most of them have been beautified. When we try to play, a man empties water from a bucket right from upper floor of his building,” the Class 7 student, a resident of Block 6 of Nehru Nagar, says.
Though some of these parks have play equipment like swings and slides, children are not allowed to play sports such as cricket and football on the grass. For now, children are allowed to play cricket and football in only Market Park in the area. Understandably, parents complain that the beautification of these parks is denying children their right to play. Area councillor Sunil Sahdev claims that the issue had never been brought to his knowledge by any of the Nehru Nagar residents, and adds that the matter comes under the supervision of the local Resident Welfare Association (RWA).
"We don't have any objection with children playing in the parks. Also, this is a colony-specific matter. Residents should sit together and discuss it." Director of Horticulture, SDMC, Alok Singh says it is up to the residents whether they want to allow children to play in the parks or to develop it. “RWAs need to take an active role in the decision-making process and see that they allocate playing area for children as well," he avers. “I am against the declaration of parks as ornamental.”
But, Kailsah Keswani, the RWA president, claims the decision was taken considering the previous records. "Of the 13 parks in Nehru Nagar, 12 are distributed in between the blocks. A couple of years ago, all these parks were used by the locals to organise weddings which often left the parks dirty. ," he says.