“Only buildings, no park, no life”, “Please save our park”, “How will we bring Olympics medal if we don’t play?” and “This park is our lifeline”.
These are some of the lines from a two-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, written by seven-year-old Navya, who requested him to “save” her neighbourhood park, where the DDA is reportedly planning to build a multi-storey community hall.
In the letter, which also has several drawings made by the girl and was sent on Wednesday, Navya refers to the PM as “uncle” and says she wants a ‘gift’ from him on his birthday, September 17. “There is a park nearby where I play, but since last month, I have not been able to play there as we came to know that some are building a community centre there… We are very sad,” she wrote in the letter, drawing a ‘sad’ face next to it.
The Class II student was referring to Hanuman Mandir park at Rohini’s Sector 8, frequented by residents of pockets A-2 and F-17. Navya has also filed a PIL in the High Court through her father, lawyer Dhiraj Singh. The plea stated that ever since the construction started, children have not been allowed to play there.
The girl also wrote a poem and urged the PM: “People say no one will read the letter. That you get thousands of such letters. But I believe you will listen to me… This park is our lifeline. Please reply to me, Modi uncle.”
Singh said it was her daughter’s idea to write the letter. “We helped her send it through e-mail and attached a few photographs of the under-construction site.”
The plea in court stated the entire issue was an example of “poor planning” on part of the DDA as there was another community hall 50 metres from the proposed site. The DDA’s decision was against the policy of protecting the environment, besides contravening the provision of protecting life and personal liberty under the Indian Constitution, stated the plea.
Hearing the plea on August 9, the Delhi High Court had issued notice to the DDA, NDMC and the office of the Lt-Governor. “Justify why it is requited,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, adding that parks were not meant to be converted into community halls.
It also asked authorities to provide details of the community hall, such as parking space, garbage disposal mechanism and number of people that can be accommodated. The bench also sought a reply on whether authorities had received any objections from residents.