Friday, February 19, 2010

Youth need more playgrounds and sports centres

Youth need more playgrounds and sports centres

Arun Dev

Roads in Dasarahalli and the surrounding newly-inducted civic wards double up as arteries to carry men and machines and as 'playgrounds' for the sportive youth. Left with little space to vent their physical energy, the young often risk their lives by playing on the busy roads, thanks to thoughtless civic planners.
"A couple of years ago, we had still some vacant places where we could play. But the swelling population and commercial ventures swallowed them up," says Chandan Gopinath, a young post-graduate. "Today we have lost our play spaces. There were three or four vacant places in a one-kilometre radius before. Now we are left with just one playground in Bagalakunte," says he tearfully.
"But, then, this is an all-in-one ground where every public function means loss of many game days for us. For it takes a long time for the ground to get back its shape after a function," he says.
So the sports-loving youth living in Dasarahalli, Shettihalli, Rajagopal Nagar and neighbouring areas travel to faraway places for playing games. "After meeting the rigour of studies, we often do not get time to go far and play every day," says Sri Vatsa Jairam, a science student of Dasarahalli.
"It's traumatic when we travel all the way only to see the ground full with some 10 cricket matches going on simultaneously," he says.
"Dasarahalli had the problem of plenty earlier," says Sridhar AG, a resident of Dasarahalli. "This was initially a revenue land inhabited mostly by employees of the industries in Peenya area. The municipal corporation was neither prepared for an influx nor made any effort to cater to a swelling population. Civic amenities aimed at a healthy life for the young like playgrounds, gyms, sport club were far from their minds, I presume," says he.
As the unplanned growth went ahead and ate up every inch of public space, Dasarahalli and the surrounding wards were hard up for facilities to hold public functions.
"A couple of months back, chief minister Yeddyurappa visited Dasarahalli and his public meeting was organised on the Bagalakunte playground. After the event, it took many days to get the ground playable again," says Umesh B, a student.
This, he adds, is true of every other event happening in this constituency.
Besides lack of proper playgrounds, youth do not have facilities for recreation. "We have no means of relaxation here. We do not have any hangouts. Just imagine, if we stand next to a bakery, the police will chase us away. The closest place where we can find some peace and recreation is Sadashivnagar. But it's almost 10km away from here. There too, we never get freedom to play as the grounds remain occupied always," says R Chandran, a young software professional.
Recently, the Palike converted some vacant places into parks to beautify the locality. Unfortunately, no one is allowed to play there. So it serves only elders who go for their morning walks. The youngsters have a question: "Which is better, a useful plan or a beautification plan?" It is up to the civic planners to answer this.

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