A city off joy: Children in Guwahati have no place for outdoor play

The famous Judges Field in the heart of Guwahati is locked till further notice. The lock at the entrance signifies that no sporting activity shall hence be allowed in the greens of the historical ground in the city. Two policemen stand guard in the morning ensuring that no one enters the field to play their hearts out.

Guwahati Municipal Development Corporation, which looks after the maintenance of field, is said to have initiated works to refurbish the field and thus the restriction.

Ironically, in the name of development work, the department till now have piled a few heaps of earth and installed three bore-wells in the corners of the field. Workers flood the field with water and slush in this rain making the field impossible to play. They spade the earth and carry them to the low areas of the field… in an effort to make the field even.

How primitive the GMDA can be if it truly intend to do some good to the field. Why don’t the GMDA use modern techniques to quickly upgrade the field, if it at all wants to do so?

In all this… where would the young boys and girls of the city play in the summer afternoon? Where would they run aimlessly or fight without a reason.

The nearby playground at Latasil, near Gauhati high court, allows cricket coaching. The Nehru Stadium keeps itself under lock for the common people, allowing only selective cricket and football coaching. The Sports Authority Field at Paltan Bazaar is for the promising players and trainees.

Playing in Guwahati now means getting enrolled in some sport academy, association or coaching centre.

If you chose to play carefree without any limitation or restriction, shout and scream in a football match with your friends, then your city without joy has no space for you. If you do not have money in your wallet then the smart city does not care about your childhood.

Recreational parks charge, courtyards have turned into basement parking and free space giving way to tall skyscrapers playing under the open sky in Guwahati is fast turning into an illusion.

It’s often said that you need three things to be truly happy in this world, someone to love, something to do and something to hope for. Childhood definitely means simplicity and I sincerely hope that the government and the society understand and ponder upon it.

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