It is not uncommon for any Punekar to see children playing in the street. While a child recklessly runs on the road following an errant ball, you swerve abruptly and after glaring at the impenitent child (who has gone back to the game) you move on without giving the incident a second thought. Ever wondered why this happens with the frequency that it does? It is because those children have nowhere else to play due to the lack of public parks and playgrounds in the city.
Pune city, with the burden of its ever-growing population, lacks not only crucial utility services but also recreation sites such as, natural parks and playgrounds, which are considered beneficial to the physical and mental health and quality of life.
Many parks and playgrounds are the targets of land grabbers and some are already under illegal occupation. Apart from grabbers, local people sometimes degrade a park by using it as a dumping yard and people as well as transport companies park their vehicles there. It is the children who are left in the lurch. Open space and even rooftops are often limits to most children. No wonder, today children can be spotted either watching TV or playing video games. Children, according to doctors, develop optical problems and they gain excessive weight resulting in diabetes and heart problems early on in life.
If corrective actions are not taken today, the day is not too far away when there would be no parks in the city or even playgrounds of schools, forcing the city dwellers to walk long distances for open space or fresh air.