A quiet desperation over recreational spaces

If you happen to take a stroll in the Venkata Nagar Park in the evening you will see children having a great time playing, elders happily chatting during their walks, a group of youngsters playing cricket and a majority of people relaxing in the evening breeze.

In contrast to the other children’s parks in and around the city, the Venkata Nagar Park is in good shape and has been well kept.

With the park operating for limited hours in the morning and evening, the infrastructure is well maintained. The park also has drinking water provisions and rest rooms which aid the high footfall here.

But all is not well at Bharathi Park near the beach. It was once filled with people of all age. Now the place is almost empty now.

Deserted park

As the summer vacations have ended, this lush green park is left quite deserted, littered and in need of renovation. There is a renovation project in place which is yet to be implemented by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

Mr. Ashok, an official from INTACH says, “The renovation project will include improvement of Aayi Mandappam, drinking water provisions, landscaping furniture.. but we are unable to arrive at a solid estimate for the completion of the project. INTACH has played an active role in the renovation of Bharathi Park and the Aayi Mandappam in the past.

The Aayi Mandappam was given a complete renovation a few years back by INTACH. The historical monument which was in a pitiable condition returned to its glory after renovation. Bharathi Park is also looking forward to such a makeover.

In an even worse state is the Rajiv Gandhi Children’s Park at Lawspet, with a dire need for a renovation. Broken benches, rusted swings and slides and paint peeling off the cement play sets are all that greet us as we go around the park which is under the Department of Forest and Wildlife.

It is evident that no attention has been paid to this once colourful place in the last few years. The park sports a desolate look.

Lawspet being a buzzing residential area, this park would be a great choice for recreation if not for its poor state of maintenance.

Public participation

These public recreational spaces haven’t been given the due notice they deserve. With a footfall of hundreds every day, it is inevitable that there occurs some deterioration to the infrastructure and maintenance.

But it is imperative, citizens feel, that these places are maintained in a commendable form while officials say that public participation for the common cause of preserving these green lungs is crucial as well.

As these recreational spaces are free of cost, there tends to be a lesser appreciation of its value from the public.

With its vast range of usage, there ought to be more awareness of the value that these parks hold and thereby an increase in its maintenance by the common man.

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