Today's children are the future of tomorrow. The one who is a child today will one day take the helm. World leadership will be in his hands. He should be a self-sufficient person and grow up with full education. Adequate amount of sports is required for the full development as well as physical and human well-being of a child. Outdoor activities play a huge role in the development of a child. For this we need open playing fields. But our limitations are surrounding the playgrounds as everyone's eyes are on grabbing the playgrounds. Which is why our playgrounds are shrinking more and more, day by day. Not getting a suitable environment for sports, children are going home and falling prey to electronic devices or online video games. This is causing a lack of physical and human well-being of children and also obstructing their development.
Children have been trapped in four walls for more than fifteen months due to the effects of the global coronavirus. They are constantly involved in video games and cartoons under the pretext of online classes. Although it is believed that they do not do it, it is harmful. But do we have an alternative? The alternative is a playground. But where is the comfort? Occupancy is also going on in the playground. Haat-bazaar is being created by occupying playgrounds, even commercial markets are being created. As a result, children are becoming homebound. They are taking refuge in electronic devices and online games. That way a large part of the fun of the growing up years and education is going to be incomplete for them all their lives. Such incidents are happening in most cases in the capital Dhaka.
The World Health Organisation recommends that every child between the age of 5 and 10 should play sports outside for at least one hour every day. Are each of our children getting that opportunity? Only 2 per cent of children in Dhaka city get a chance to play in playgrounds. 20 per cent of adolescents show signs of depression. Children are not getting the opportunity to play outside and especially the girls are being deprived even more.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the population of Dhaka in 1970 was 1.7 million. At that time the city authorities had more than 50 playgrounds. Every school and neighbourhood had fields, open spaces. But now the population of Dhaka has crossed one and a half crore. There are only 24 fields in the two city corporations of Dhaka. Now it is difficult to find open space. It is learned that Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has 15 playgrounds. On the other hand, Dhaka South City Corporation has only nine playgrounds. Only nine fields for a city! It is easy to imagine the condition of the children living there! Not getting enough playgrounds has become distracting and led them to get addicted to online video games.
Old Dhaka is one of the most densely populated areas of the South City Corporation of the capital. One of the traditional playgrounds here is the "Dhupkhola Playground." The environment here is not healthy as there is a market around the field. However, the locals are walking here in the morning and playing sports regularly in the afternoon. Jagannath University is a part of that field. This is what has been published in the country's leading newspapers. According to the report, Dhaka South City Corporation gave the land as a playground to Jagannath University, one of the three grounds at Dhupkhola in Gandaria area. Since then it has been known as the grounds of Jagannath University. Since its inception, the university administration has used it as a central playground for annual sports competitions. Students also conduct their various tournaments and exercise at different times. However, it is not only for the university students, but also the only place for the locals to exercise and play.
Dhaka South City Corporation has taken a plan to occupy the central playground at Jagannath University, at Dhupkhola and build a market and park there. As per the previous plan, on June 10, Shamsuzzoha, a councilor of Ward 45, South City Corporation and Haridas Mallick, Sub-Assistant Engineer, City Corporation, installed poles in the four corners of the field as per the map. The administration and students of Jagannath University have expressed their displeasure after the matter came to their notice of the plan to build a market in the field without informing anyone. The students also held a human chain program on June 20 to demand protection of their fields. Now the question is why occupy the sports field and build a business or a market? Is there no importance of sports or playgrounds in human life?
Money is important to make a living. But not excluding an important amenity of human growth. The commercial market is important and it is needed to meet the needs of the people. But the plan to build a market by occupying the playground is illogical. There is lots of space in villages for playgrounds. People of different ages enjoy sports there. In addition there is a lot of open space in the villages for children to play around. Even if there are shops around the village fields it is not a problem, but in the city it is the opposite, especially in Dhaka city and particularly in old Dhaka. It goes without saying that there are not enough playgrounds compared to the number of people in this densely populated city. There is a lack of a healthy environment to play outdoor games here. Boys and girls who like to play do not get enough space to play in the small alleys and the consequence is getting attached to online games on electronic devices, which is being considered as a deadly disease of the present time.
Imran Hossain, student of Jagannath University