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Inclusive play spaces remain elusive in city

DNBAN40498 | 4/13/2011 | Author : Merlin Francis | WC :479

Residents of Koramangala, Jayanagar and Whitefield lack motivation to push their cases

Despite repeated protests, the BBMP's lethargy in building inclusive play spaces for city children is driving residents' welfare groups and NGOs crazy.
Kavita Krishnamoorthy, founder of Kilikili, a trust that works for inclusive play spaces, says: "An inclusive park is accessible to everyone and includes disabled as well as abled children. Here both will be able to make use of the equipment provided."
The city has only three such play spaces now. Proposals for such spaces have been with the BBMP for the last two-and-a-half years at least. If they are taken up, Koramangala first block, Jayanagar and White field will have inclusive play spaces for children.
Manvel Alur of Kormangala has been fighting for the park for two years. "In 2008, we submitted a budget for the renovation of the park and for building the play space. After postponing the work for nearly two years, renovation was finally completed in 2010. But since that work overshot the budget, the inclusive play space plan was put on hold."
In March 2011, the budget for the play space was again presented before the BBMP. "The MLA, Ramalinga Reddy, promised us that work would start in two days. It has been more than a month since then and nothing has been done," said Alur.
When contacted, Reddy said a few days ago, nearly `5 crore has been approved for the BTM constituency from the MLA special grant scheme.
"The budget proposed for the park work has been approved and we will be calling for tenders. Once the tender is finalised, the work will begin and it will be completed in four to five months," Reddy added.
The fate of the proposed park in Jayanagar and Whitefield is much less clearer. "The original site for the Jayanagar park was along Nanda Theatre Road. Since Metro needed this space, the plan was scrapped," Krishnamoorthy said.
Despite talks with the BBMP for the last two years, nothing has come out of it. "There is no concrete reason given. And it gets delayed because the official concerned is busy, or he needs to talk to another official," she said.
The park at Whitefield will benefit residents most as there are three schools for physically challenged children in the area. "The children from these schools will definitely benefit from an inclusive play space," said Roopa Swaminathan, who works for the project.
Kavita expressed her frustration thus: "At one level, BBMP officials say 'Yes, we want to do it, and we support the initiative.' But then, the work is just not being done."
Alur feels it is the lack of influential people in the first block that kept delaying the work. Kavita, on the other hand, believes it is lack of motivation.
"For the first few parks, there was a lot of motivation to get the work done. But now that is missing," Kavita said.

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