The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued a 10-point guideline to the West Bengal Urban Development department to ensure that a playground for children within residential complexes is mandatory for permission to construct housing estates.
The guideline involves providing “safe outdoor playground for children for their physiological and mental health development” and ensure that the “location of the playing areas is near, in and around the central part of the house so that the children feel secure and less isolated from their parents.”
“The issue had come up before the Commission while processing a complaint that a resident of a housing complex in the city had been constantly harassing and threatening the children from playing in a space within the estate,” Vinod Kumar Tikoo, member, NCPCR, told The Hindu over telephone from New Delhi on Tuesday.
He said the West Bengal government has acceded to the guideline. The Commission is now taking up the issue with all State governments and Union Territories to ensure the child’s right to play in some area within high-rise residential complexes.
Referring to the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child that has been ratified by India, he said it advocates “every child has the right to rest and to leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child, and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”
Other recommendations in the guideline say that the playing areas should provide children opportunities for “gross motor play” which involves physical activity and “quiet play” that gets them to “think and reason,” Mr. Tikoo said.
“Lack of playground space has a telling effect on the mental and physical development of the children in metropolises like Kolkata and New Delhi,” he said.
Mr. Tikoo said the Commission has asked the department to ensure that in case of high-rises with no open space the nearest park should be made available to the children.
“Even if parks are not there the nearest school playground when the school is closed should be made available,” he added.