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Updated: October 3, 2013 14:59 IST
GROUND REALITY

Lack of adequate playgrounds in Chennai

Aloysius Xavier Lopez
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Unplanned urban development leaves little space for playgrounds. Photo: M. Srinath
The Hindu
Unplanned urban development leaves little space for playgrounds. Photo: M. Srinath

All the eight newly merged zones lack an adequate number of playgrounds. With the addition of 33 playgrounds in the last one year, the situation was somewhat remedied. However, with just 36 playgrounds on the slate, these zones, which measure 252 sq.km., are still hopelessly short of what they ideally need. There is a huge discrepancy between these zones and the old city which has 228 playgrounds across 174 sq.km.

Tiruvottiyur zone has no playgrounds as per the records available with Chennai Corporation. The other new zones such as Perungudi, Alandur, Sholinganallur, Manali, Ambattur, Madhavaram and Valasaravakkam are also short on playgrounds. Documents pertaining to land earmarked for playgrounds in such zones have not been handed over by the erstwhile local body to the Chennai Corporation.

“Many residents in our ward have been demanding more playgrounds for children. Corporation cites lack of big parcels of land for failure to act on this. We have requested the government for a 3.5-acre piece of land in Nettukuppam belonging to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board for creation of a playground. The Fisheries Department owns large parcels of land in the zone, out of which playgrounds may be created,” said A.Ezhilarasi, councillor of ward 1 in Tiruvottiyur.

“These playgrounds can also serve as assembly points during emergency situations; temporary shelters could be created,” said N. Mathavan, a disaster management expert.

Urban planners point out that organised growth of the old city during the 1950s and 1960s, which was orchestrated by the City Improvement Trust, contributed to an increase in playgrounds.

However, in the newly added areas, unplanned urban development leaves little space for playgrounds. Added areas have a large number of norm-flouting unapproved layouts that practically rule out the possibility of creating playgrounds. Many records pertaining to the 10 per cent OSR land reserved for large projects too have not been handed over to the Chennai Corporation.

Last year, the civic agency began the process of making a list of open spaces suitable for creation of playgrounds in the newly added zones of Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Valasaravakkam, Alandur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur. But a chunk of the lands are too small to be turned into playgrounds. Another contributing factor is the inability of the Chennai Corporation to retrieve from erstwhile local bodies, land that lend themselves to establishment of playgrounds.

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Nanganallur population is increasing rapidly with many individual houses
becoming multi storey apartment complexes. It has a good mix of senior
citizens, working adults and school/college students. There is no
announcement about plans to create a decent parks and playgrounds.
Urgent action on this will benefit many residents resulting in their
improved fitness.

from:  Balachandran
Posted on: Oct 4, 2013 at 17:53 IST

I live in Madipakkam and our original layout clearly shows a chunk of land for childrens playground. However, ex-panchayat president who was then affiliated with current ruling party, sold half and built his house on other half and is still living in it. Will the government do anything to recover such? If so we will have ample space to play. We dont lack in planning its execution where all hurdles and corruption is taking place.

from:  ram
Posted on: Oct 3, 2013 at 19:37 IST

We used to play in the fields of Perungalathur (Outskirts of Chennai)...
Now they have raised buildings... I am worried about the future kids...
No sports in schools also... Schools must give a fair amount of time for
Kids.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Oct 3, 2013 at 18:19 IST

I live in Chromepet, where there is no playground of name to mention.
Children who do not find a playground start playing in the road and
parents more often do not allow the kids to play at all for lack of
proper play grounds. There are two grounds one at IRT Polytechnic and
the other at MIT. However both of them are out of bounds for public. I
Think that in the long run, children will forget how to play.

from:  G. Kuppan
Posted on: Oct 3, 2013 at 16:06 IST

In newly added zones there are many CMDA approved layouts. These layouts have designated area for parks as per layout. However, I have my doubts on how much of it is available for park/play ground..In Adayalampattu, a place next to Maduravoyal where land cost Rs-1cr/ground, in the millenium town layout, a ground marked for park/playground is being encroached upon illegally for several years now. Initially there was a hut and for last few years there is a 2 storey building in that place. Who will question? Many dont even know if that belongs to park. Residents in that area are highly educated and influencial people such as doctors, IAS officiers and Group-2 officiers.. Infact, one of the collector in nearby district also own a house near that locality. They dont just care as it does not affect them and most of them dont even know that such encroachment is happening. This is one incident that came to light because of the protest of one of the ward member in that area. There will be more!

from:  Gautham
Posted on: Oct 3, 2013 at 14:06 IST

It is time we realised that the growing number of lifestyle related
diseases are caused due to inactivity. The need for good playgrounds and
parks should be given due importance for a healthier Chennai.

from:  Abhiman K
Posted on: Oct 3, 2013 at 10:03 IST

It is a shame that we do not give enough importance to open spaces and
public play grounds in India and particularly Chennai. In the city of
Mylapore the P.S. High School used to have a reasonably large play
ground during my days. But now they have used it to build a separate
high school and did other things reducing or eliminating the play
ground. While they have increased the student population the
playground availability is drastically reduced. It is time the public
demands that proper open space for children to play is available at
every new development.

from:  S.Balakrishnan
Posted on: Oct 3, 2013 at 09:02 IST

In Canada, Play Ground is also used to collect Rain Water, Storm Water
and Snow to increase Water level in the Ground!

from:  Noor ul Eman
Posted on: Oct 3, 2013 at 08:23 IST
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