Thanks to faulty design, rains will soon take over the few playgrounds in Chennai

You may have to devise innovative ways to keep teenagers occupied in the coming months.

After roads and bylanes, the latest casualty of faulty design and poor planning is the neighbourhood playground. The upcoming northeast monsoon is likely to inundate many of the Corporation’s football grounds and playgrounds.

“The playground maintained by the Chennai Corporation is in a bad shape. The design of the playground is not proper. This leads to damage during the rains and stagnation of water,” said N. Umapathy, a football coach who trains youngsters in north Chennai.

After nearly a year of local administration, the new Chennai Corporation council is yet to take efforts towards putting in place a sound procedure to create and maintain good playgrounds. Mr. Umapathy pointed to playgrounds in areas such as Kannigapuram and Ganesapuram as examples of the Chennai Corporation’s poorly-designed projects. “Even after submitting a copy of the norms to be adopted for designing a playground, the corporation officials have not taken any action to execute the plan well,” he said.

The ideal way to go about it would be to put a 15-centimetre sand filling at the bottom, layer it with 15 centimetres of gravel and then top it off with a mixture of red earth and sand in the right proportion, he said.

“We are unable to play for two weeks after the rains. So, we move to a small piece of Corporation land to play football,” said Madhan Kumar, a student who is part of Mr. Umapathy’s team. The civic body maintains three playgrounds in the eight new zones, while in the old city limits, it has 246 playgrounds.

Though the civic body announced it would create parks in 100 localities in the newly-added areas, very few open spaces have been identified for the purpose. “The Chennai Corporation should design a football playground according to the norms. There should be provision for drainage of water after a spell of rain. This will prevent damage to the ground,” said Satheesh, another football player.

“Many children get injured while playing in the damaged playgrounds. But we have no alternative,” said Nisha Vennila, who used to play football at Samanthipoo Colony playground in Vyasarpadi. “Now we practise at a smaller piece of land nearby,” she said.

While officials of the civic body claimed they had prepared a list of open spaces suitable for creating playgrounds in the newly added zones of Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Valasaravakkam, Alandur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur, many of the identified spots are yet to be converted into good playgrounds.

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