Tuesday, September 17, 2019
facebook
Himachal

Posted at: Aug 14, 2019, 7:37 AM; last updated: Aug 14, 2019, 7:37 AM (IST)

Playgrounds gone, Shimla kids bereft of fun and frolic

Playgrounds gone, Shimla kids bereft of fun and frolic
Demanding playgrounds, an NGO protests by playing cricket on The Ridge in Shimla.

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 13

Paucity of playgrounds and squeezing open spaces in the congested Shimla is restricting the outdoor activities of children, affecting their growth, but no plan is in place to construct playgrounds.

The children used to play in streets and The Ridge but today the streets have become overcrowded with large number of vehicles parked in it and children playing on The Ridge are shooed away. 

In fact, there is hardly any breathing space for children, who are forced to restrict themselves to indoor activities and remain glued to TV sets, internet and mobile phones, says Aruna, a resident of Jakhoo, whose son is in Class VII. There was a plenty of open space and gardens and lawns were part of houses about four decades ago. Not only landowners have raised structures, but the state government and MC also vied to grab open spaces.

The sprawling Annandale ground, which was the centre of sports and other activities, has been taken over by the Army and the entry of civilians is barred. Bharari ground is with the police, Lalpani ground is with the HPCA while houses have been built at famous Titla Hotel grounds in Jakhoo, upper Kaithu, Prospect Hills, Park area, Nabha Estate and Chhota Shimla. Even heritage zones and core areas have not been spared.Some old educational institutions like Bishop Cotton, St Edward’s, Convent of Jesus and Mary, Kendriya Vidyalaya and Himachal Pradesh University have large play fields while other institutions are without playgrounds or have small fields, which are inadequate to cope with the increasing population of children. Huge grounds are required for sports, especially field games like football, cricket, hockey and athletics, which not only help in de-stressing but also channel  energy of children and reduces the risk of drug abuse among the youth to a certain extent, said Dr Aaditya Sharma. On one hand, the government is taking out drives against drugs, on the other, it has not taken any steps to provide places where kids could play, stay health and channel their energy, says a local resident Harish Sharma. The government is focusing on construction of parks and parkings but playgrounds are a low priority area. An NGO had also lodged a protest by playing cricket on The Ridge.


Grounds taken over

The sprawling Annandale ground, which was the centre of sports and other activities, has been taken over by the Army and the entry of civilians is barred. Bharari ground is with the police, Lalpani ground is with the HPCA while houses have been built at famous Titla Hotel grounds in Jakhoo, upper Kaithu, Prospect Hills, Park area, Nabha Estate and Chhota Shimla. Even heritage zones and core areas have not been spared.

Documentary on kids’ plight

National awardee film-maker Vivek Mohan had shot a 15-minute docu drama titled “Shivaji Park of Shimla” two years back after he saw the plight of the children who were chased by the police for playing on The Ridge. Where should the children play in Shimla when most of the playgrounds are with schools, police and Army and buildings are coming up in every open available space?, he questioned.


There is hardly any breathing space for children, who are forced to restrict themselves to indoor activities and remain glued to TV sets, internet and mobile phones.— Aruna, A Resident of Jakhoo, whose son is in class VII

COMMENTS

All readers are invited to post comments responsibly. Any messages with foul language or inciting hatred will be deleted. Comments with all capital letters will also be deleted. Readers are encouraged to flag the comments they feel are inappropriate.
The views expressed in the Comments section are of the individuals writing the post. The Tribune does not endorse or support the views in these posts in any manner.
Share On