Monday, May 18, 2009

Special parks for senior citizens

Special parks for senior citizens

Public gardens and parks provide Lung space for city folks who otherwise live in concretized jungles that are highly polluted and suffocating. For children and senior citizens they provide a place for spending quality time away from their stuffy homes. Well developed and neatly maintained parks are a must in every city.


A good park must have lush green trees, shrubs, flower beds that are adequately watered, trimmed and maintained well. Comfortable benches and play equipment for children are also a must. For adding value to senior citizens, special attention must be paid to walkers' paths, toilets and drinking water. The landscaping has to take care not to have steep steps or slopes that might make older people gasp for breath. Multipurpose lawns that lend themselves useful for Bajans, meetings, small get togethers etc may be included. Water fountains add beauty. Parks should be well lighted, fenced properly and staffed with qualified gardeners and security folks. Preventing unsocial elements abusing the Park facility would encourage ladies and senior citizens to visit the parks without fear. In many parks they charge a monthly usage fees or a daily visiting fee. This must be waived in the case of senior citizens - as has been done by GHMC Hyderabad.


Last year witnessed many State governments and Municipalities taking interest in development of parks and gardens. Kerala, Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh deserve special mention. MCD in Delhi spent for example Rs 1.8 Crores on furnishing parks. Maharashtra came up with Nana Nani Parks in Mumbai. Nana Nani parks, specially designed and maintained for senior citizens, (initially started in Versova and Chowpati) were promoted by Pramod Navalkar of Shiv Sena fame. 


Hyderabad, like Mysore and Bangalore, has been well known for its Parks and gardens. Though we do have some good parks like Sanjeevaiah Park, Indira Park, Nehru Zoological Park, Lumbini Park, Public gardens etc, this is not enough. If the parks are to benefit the elderly then they must be easily accessible and located nearby. For this reason, every colony should have a decent park with a walkers' path nearby, say within a kilometer of one's residence.


Existing parks are not being maintained properly. Broken benches, children's play equipment under repair, dry trees and garbage are common scene.  In order to encourage the Resident Welfare Associations to take interest in maintaining neighborhood parks, Secunderabad Cantonment Board has come up with a novel scheme. Starting from October 2008, SCB is offering Rs 3000 per month per park to the concerned Colony Welfare Association as Garden Maintenance Allowance. Now every RWA can hire a temporary gardener to ensure proper upkeep of colony parks.


Senior citizens do not have any entertainment nor can they afford to pay for commercial entertainment. Parks are easy to reach and are free. They promote togetherness among lonely souls. Therefore it is the responsibility of all sectors to the society to take interest in improving our parks.

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