After the concretization of the Priyadarshini Colony playground, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has allegedly destroyed another one, also known as Lingo Maidan, at Kanchipuram. In the name of the development of the playground, the civic body has covered it with big-sized gravel (gitti) making it unsuitable even for walking, much less playing.

Following complaints from residents, activist Akshay Samarth visited the playground and alerted NMC officials about the destruction of the playground.

Priyadarshini Colony playground

“I had played football and cricket in this playground for years. It was in very good condition. It began to be destroyed with parking of school buses and commercial vehicles in the last couple of years. An NMC contractor began using a large chunk of it for making concrete manhole covers. It became undulating and unsuitable for playing. I am shocked to see NMC has now covered the entire playground with gravel. It seems NMC is converting it into a parking place as done at Priyadarshini Colony,” he said.

Samarth said, “It is also contempt of Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court and violation of NMC norms. The playground should be kept open to the sky and should be playable. No one can even walk here.”

A resident of Kachipura Anil Wadpalliwar said it was a sheer waste of public money. “City is running out of open spaces. This playground is only one in Kanchipuram. Now, where will children and sportspersons play? Stringent action should be taken against the NMC staff. It should recover the loss from engineers,” he said.

An engineer from NMC Dharampeth Zone told TOI he was not aware of the playground being covered with gravel. “Sudhakar Deshmukh had approved Rs 18 lakh for development of the playground during his tenure as MLA. Work has been allotted to a private agency for developing it systematically. Work also covers the construction of the walking track. I will inspect and take necessary action,” he said.

Wadpalliwar said it was a practice of NMC engineers to sit in offices and clear bills without visiting sites. “Contractor is bound to execute work as per specification is given by the NMC. Engineers have to be present at the site and ensure the right quantity of materials is used. How can engineer says he is not aware and will revert after inspection,” he asked.

As per norms, gravel is not to be used in developing a playground. A layer of soft stones (khadak) is laid and crushed through road roller to level the ground. Then, a thick layer of black soil (mitti) is laid for growing grass and softness.

Samarth and Wadpalliwar said gravel should be removed. “NMC should not put soil on gravel. Citizens especially children will get hurt. After some time, gravel having sharp edges will come to the surface and cause injuries,” they said.

TOI had done a series of reports on the destruction of the Priyadarshini Colony playground in April last year. NMC is yet to take any action against engineers and restore the playground

(With inputs from timesofindia)