The Dhaka North City Corporation's plan to refurbish 26 parks and playgrounds in its jurisdiction and include different facilities for children as well as the general public therein is praiseworthy. The city woefully lacks open spaces where people of all ages can go and spend some quality time. The few that are there have either become derelict and unfit for use or are under illegal control of local musclemen, becoming virtually out of bounds for the public and, in some cases, a den of dubious activities. What is very admirable is that the corporation is taking into account the suggestions of the local people, including the young, while constructing the facilities.
The same goes for the gradual reduction in the number of playgrounds. Many of the existing ones are either being used to park trucks and buses or have been taken over for construction of markets or building flats. That has deprived the younger lot of the scope for outdoor activity which was a favourite after-school-hours pastime not many years ago. It is not for nothing that the younger generation of today get drawn to other activities, including addiction to drugs and computers, that ultimately brings harm to many of them.
Thus, alongside redoing the existing facilities, the city corporation should also undertake plans to free the parks and playgrounds that are under illegal occupation and also create more such facilities, particularly playgrounds, given that most schools do not have facilities for outdoor activities within their premises.
We feel the Dhaka South City Corporation should also take up similar ventures, since the situation there is even worse. Our earnest call to the authorities would be to ensure that these facilities are maintained regularly and that they remain outside the clutch of the local mastaans and are not used for fairs or as cattle markets as we see happen presently.