DNCC mayor pledges to address issues brought up by children and adolescents
Teenagers living in areas under the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) have told their mayor that there aren’t enough playgrounds for children and for them, as the ones that currently exist must be made safer for both boys and girls.
They expressed the concerns at a dialogue with DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam at Nagar Bhaban in Gulshan yesterday.
Around 100 adolescents from different zones under the DNCC attended the dialogue, jointly organized by DNCC and Unicef, which aims to come up with ideas and solutions to their problems in order to turn the city to be more children-friendly.
“We do not have enough playgrounds, and that’s why children and adolescents are suffering from different physical issues,” said Mohammad Hasan, a teenager from Mirpur.
“Even though there is one near my house, local seniors do not allow us to play in it or sometimes even force us to leave the playground. Local drug addicts also keep the ground occupied in the evening,” he said.
Hasan said he was talking about the Eidgah playground in Mirpur, which is also mostly occupied illegally, when the mayor asked him about its location.
Taking a cue, another teenager Sharmin Aktar asked: “If the boys can’t even play, then how can we [girls] go to the playground? Why shouldn’t girls be able to play in the playgrounds too?
“We want safer playgrounds for both boys and girls.”
In response, Mayor Atiqul said: “If someone disturbs you, you can just call 333 [DNCC helpline number] and inform our officer about your problem. Our officials will take steps to solve it. If necessary, we will also involve the police.”
He added that everyone had equal rights and they would work to address the issues. “We have also taken an initiative to build playgrounds only for women and children.”
Aleya Sarwar Daisy, the reserve seat councillor from DNCC Ward No 12, added: “We should ensure playgrounds for both boys and girls with safety and security features.”
The mayor said there were 24 playgrounds under the DNCC at the moment, and 17 of them will have CCTV cameras and floodlights to ensure security day and night. “Three more playgrounds are under-construction and will be opened soon.”
Some adolescents at the dialogue also claimed that there were many playgrounds, apart from being illegally occupied most of the time, which host month-long fairs and carnivals, and do not allow children to play.
But the mayor said the city corporation do not allow such events on playgrounds under its jurisdiction.
Roksana, another teenager, urged the authorities to build adolescent corners at public hospitals and health complexes, so that they can easily share their problems with the doctors.