A Kolkatan who wanted to take her two-year-old grandson to a park on Friday afternoon found three parks in her neighbourhood shut.
Jael Silliman, 66, a resident of Moira Street in south-central Kolkata, said as a two-year-old he was still not eligible for a Covid vaccine and the family has not allowed the kid to go anywhere. The park seemed to be the safest option for the boy for an outing.
Silliman, said it was not possible for her to find time in the morning to visit a park, a reason why she chose the afternoon.
Although Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) had announced parks would remain open between 6am and 9pm, the reality keeps eluding the promise.
The Telegraph called Debashis Kumar, the mayoral council member-in-charge of parks and squares in the KMC, twice. He did not respond.
A KMC official said they would meet on Monday to decide whether all parks should be kept open from morning till evening, without any break.
Public health experts and doctors have repeatedly said open-air spaces like parks are much safer to visit as chances of the spread of Covid infection are less.
“My grandson has rarely got a chance to step out. The park seems to be the best option for him,” said Silliman, an author.
Silliman and her grandson, Vivaan Mehan, first visited Minto Park, then Auckland Square and finally, Rawdon Square. “I was going from one to another hoping the next one would be open,” she said.
Silliman then called a senior official of the KMC’s parks and squares department who was “not even willing to listen” to her and told her “not to disturb” him.
Several Kolkatans have been demanding that all parks should remain open from morning till evening. “The civic body must understand that they are the custodians of the parks and not owners...,” said Bonani Kakkar, founder of NGO People United for Better Living in Calcutta (PUBLIC), who is among those advocating longer visiting hours in parks.