In a familiar and disappointing pattern, BMC negligence has caused a 13-year-old boy so much pain. The teenager was recently injured because of a rusty ride in Mankhurd’s Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya garden.

Residents of Cheetah Camp in Mankhurd say that they had brought to the notice of authorities several times that old, rusty equipment was lying in the garden. They claim no action was taken on their complaints. Recently, a dilapidated rusty ladder fell on the boy, and resulted in a thigh high plaster on his leg.

The civic authorities do need to up the quality and upkeep of gardens across the city. In a welcome move, the BMC has installed rudimentary gym equipment in its gardens across the city. All these measures are much needed. We only hope this is looked after and preserved.

Public gardens suffer from neglect, abuse and misuse. A lot of this can be blamed on the public too. They will roughhouse with rides, often we seen adults sitting on children’s swings and seesaws, causing them to break or stop functioning. Rubbish and old play rides are not cleared away in time. Cautionary signboards on age limits and rules on how to use the equipment are missing.

Ladders to slides which have missing rungs, rough landing spots, uneven ground, weak link chains on swings — all these are an unfortunate reality at most grounds. Stringent checks, attendants to ensure proper play etiquette and, of course, the co-operation of citizens, particularly parents, is key in ensuring our gardens are safe spaces for kids.

In a city starved of green, open grounds and recreational avenues, let the authorities give this the issue the importance it deserves. After all, garden upkeep and maintenance is not simply child’s play.