Five-year-old girl killed as swing breaks in MCD park

A five-year-old girl died after a swing broke at a park in west Delhi’s New Moti Nagar, said a North Corporation official on Friday. The victim’s parents had already lost three children, and Reema was their only kid alive.

The accident took place on Thursday evening when Reema was playing at a park in ‘A’ Block in New Moti Nagar, said an official with North Delhi Municipal Corporation. “She fell off a swing after it broke,” he added.

The victim’s mother works as a domestic help with Moti Nagar municipal councillor Surender Kaur. “I was with the victim’s family all day. We are sorry for their loss,” added Kaur.  

The incident highlights the sorry state of affairs of MCD parks in Delhi. Terming parks of Delhi as a death trap, the High Court had ordered civic agencies to improve the infrastructure. The North Corporation conducted an inquiry and suspended five officials of Horticulture Department for negligence.

North Corporation Commissioner Praveen Gupta said in a statement: “Deputy director, assistant director, section officer, chaudhary and malli (gardner) of the Horticulture Department of the concerned zone are placed under suspension pending inquiry.”

Locals complained that the civic agency only looks after a few parks and rest of them have become a den for anti-social elements. 

“Nobody can go to these parks. They don’t qualify to be called a park in the first place,” said Santosh Saini, a resident of B Block.

The municipal commissioner said: “Directions have  been given to all the departments concerned to inspect playing apparatuses and swings in parks and schools immediately.”

“Even Resident Welfare Associations have also been appealed to complain to the local body if they find any of the playing apparatus or swing as dangerous,” he added.

Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court slammed civic agencies and said the condition of city parks was a “serious violation of human rights of children” as it is “their right in their tender times to have a decent environment to play and frolic around.”

Even councillors admitted that most of the parks are in poor state and hardly maintained.

“The parks are the lungs of a city and unfortunately they are lying in bad shape. Instead of children and senior citizen using these parks it is used to throw dumps and by anti-social elements. Thieves have stolen away iron grills, lights and other electrical equipment causing loss of public money,” said a councillor.

Locals added that cases of theft of electric goods installed in the park have increased many folds.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation had 16 children parks with 418 swings. Councillors said the post of gardeners is lying vacant for many years but no recruitment has taken place yet.

According to a senior official, there are 5,776 parks under the civic agency for which 3,245 gardeners have been sanctioned but 1,400 posts are lying vacant. In East Delhi, the civic agency is short of 247 gardeners for its 2,052 parks. The South Corporation has 6,411 parks and it is short of 1,000 gardners.

This week North corporation conducted an inspection and cancelled agreement with a Resident Welfare Association (RWA) in Naraina Vihar for its failure to maintain a park. 

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