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Ride a little broken horse to make your mummy cross

- Adults damage swings and merry-go-rounds made for children at various popular kids’ parks

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 2: Daddy and mummy are very cross. The rides meant for little ones at their favourite children’s parks have been damaged, some of them by adults who have ridden them.

The most sought-after destination for kids, Biju Patnaik Park, which lies in Forest Park, sees a footfall of around 500 on weekends. The number doubles on special occasions such as New Year.

However, the condition of the rides is so bad that most parents forbid their children to try them. They have to remain content with running around with other kids on the jogging tracks or playing with them on the lawns.

The frequent damage to the rides meant for children in city parks is linked to misuse by adults, whereas they are only to be used by children below the age of 12.

“There should be an effective security system in place so that adults do not get the opportunity to damage the facilities meant for children,” said a parent.

Sanjukta Nayak, a teacher at Maria Montessori School of Little Angels in Ganganagar, said: “We regularly take our kids to parks, especially Biju Patnaik Park. However, since many of the rides there are in a pathetic state, we are no longer keen on taking our kids there. The park authorities should replace them as soon as possible.”

Leonita Mohapatra, a young mother who lives at Unit-VI, said the city authorities should be aware of the rights of children.

“There are many facilities for recreation for adults across the city, especially during festivities and occasions such as the New Year. But when the kids go to parks to play, they find that most of the rides are broken. This is poor urban management,” she said.

Pokhariput’s Madhusudan Park, which was inaugurated three years ago, is also lying in utter neglect. The swings are broken and the other rides are damaged as well.

Mother of two, Gita Behera, is very unhappy with the state of affairs. “It is a comparatively new park and many young couples from Bhimatangi, Pokhariput, Gandamunda and Jagamara take their kids there. But it’s very disappointing that the condition of the rides is so poor,” she said.

Senior paediatrician Arabinda Mohanty said: “The city administration should ensure that rides remain in good shape round the year so that children can enjoy quality time. We need more parks in Bhubaneswar.”

Chief horticulturist of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) Ashok N. Dhar promised that all the defective rides would be replaced. “We are aware of children’s rights and have never ignored their requirements in our parks,” he said.

“We have already initiated a tendering process for Biju Patnaik Park and the children’s rides will be replaced. The tender papers will be released by the second week of January. Subsequently, the rides in other parks will also be renovated,” executive engineer III of BDA and in charge of maintenance, Ambika Mohanty, told The Telegraph.