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Tuesday 09 February 2016
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Streets are their playgrounds

Treena Mukherjee, Dec 4, 2012
unsafe Very few residential areas in the City have open spaces for children to play.

Many residential areas in the City lack playgrounds — but apparently, this hasn’t been a point for concern for children as they simply play in the narrow lanes and streets around their homes.

The concept of ‘gully’ cricket might have been a fad a few years ago — but today, children play on the streets in front of their homes more out of compulsion than anything else.

“The fact that there are no playgrounds near our area is the reason why our children play on the street. The only playground nearby is about two kilometres from our house and I am not confident about leaving my nine-year-old son all alone there,” says Anusha, a homemaker.

The constant flow of vehicles might often disturb their games but children aren’t left with any other choice.

Surprisingly, many parents too are comfortable with the fact that their children are playing closer to home.

Some parents say that they are scared about the safety of their children. They feel that letting them play closer home is better, as they can keep an eye on them.

“We can monitor what our children are up to this way. When children know that their parents are there in the vicinity, they are more conscious about their actions. Moreover, children today are involved in many activities. Sending them to far-away places to play will take up most of their time,” says Anakha, a professional.

Parents, however, fail to see that playing on the streets can prove to be a bigger risk for their children due to passing vehicles.

While some parents choose to overlook the safety concerns of playing on the streets, others are conscious and encourage their children to play in safer enclosures.

Umesh Lata, the mother of an eleven-year-old, says that she prefers it the other way.

“I am relieved that my son plays with his friends in a playground. He has an inclination towards sports and loves to go to the nearby field to play. Though the ground is a bit far from our home, I encourage him to walk or cycle there.

I would be very tensed if my child played on the streets. It is impossible for parents to keep children under supervision all the time and it is essential to give children their own space to explore their abilities.

But not many areas in the City have playgrounds in the vicinity, which forces children to convert the adjoining streets into playgrounds,” she explains.

Youngsters say that playing on the streets is a convenient option, as they are often too tired to go to a playground.

“There are no playgrounds in my locality. The nearest one is inside National Games Village, which is a few kilometres from my house.

We play on the streets as none of us have the energy to walk to the playground. However, we do visit one on the weekends,” sums up Subhajit, who lives in Viveknagar.


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