A ban on playing cricket along the Marina beach was announced on Tuesday after a joint consultation meeting here.

It was also decided at the meeting that 228 playgrounds spread across 10 zones of the Chennai Corporation would be made available for youngsters who want to play cricket.

Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi, City Police Commissioner T. Rajendran and the Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni were among those who participated in the meeting. The announcement comes after a series of incidents recently in which the police chased away youngsters playing cricket on the Marina, particularly on the service road. A group of 2,000 people had protested on Sunday against the police action.

According to officials, factors such as representations received from walkers, hindrance caused to vehicles using the service road and maintaining the facilities which the Corporation had installed as part of the beach beautification programme were taken into account before imposing the ban.

Some of the playgrounds which would henceforth be open to cricket enthusiasts include the grounds at May Day Park, Gopalapuram, Turnbulls Road, Nandanam Extension, Mandaveli South Cooum Road, Thiru.Vi.Ka Nagar and the Pattinappakam Housing Board playground.

Reacting to the decision, some representatives of residents of Triplicane said the move was unfortunate and did not take into account the fact that the cricket-playing youngsters had as much right as others who used the beach.

“I’ve been playing cricket on the beach for 30 years now,” said 53-year-old D.J. Ramani, a resident. “It looks like a tradition will now be lost forever.”

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