The open ground in front of the M-east ward in Govandi which was used as a den for consuming drugs by addicts is now being turned into a sports ground for doctors and locals who play volleyball and football to beat the stress.
All thanks to a team of doctors from the vicinity who cleaned the ground to prepare the badminton and volleyball fields. The doctors have now started counseling the addicts to show them the brighter world outside the addiction.
Dr Zahid Khan is the General Secretary of United Medical Association (UMA), an association of 375 doctors including MBBS, BUMS, BAMS, and BHMS practicing doctors. "During the pandemic, most of us were practicing in day time at their clinic. While we were on duty at the isolation centre at the night, the stress level was high leading to depression daily," said the doctor.
Khan further said the doctors used to frequently visit the M-east ward office of BrihanMumbai Municipal corporation to get PPE kits and other equipment.
"We found an open ground in front of the ward office. We visited the ground to find it uncleaned with big grass. It was a den for addicts who had captured every corner and hideout with sofa and blanket to sit and consume drugs. Instead of disturbing anyone, we decided to first start playing where many addicts opposed us as it was not a playing ground. But we claimed ourselves to be doctors and ignored them," added Khan.
"The team of doctors started concentrating on games in April this year. Then I made a daily schedule of 2 hours to practice volleyball and badminton," said Khan.
"We then cleaned the complete ground to make four different coaches. Two badminton coaches, one volleyball coach, and one badminton coach for kids. We all assume the reduction in stress level and decided to make it a habit for locals too. To promote the place among locals, we held a tournament recently and received a tremendous response," added Khan.
Dr. Shafi Khan, President of UMA said daily around 30 doctors and more than 50 locals are coming to practice badminton, volleyball, and other games here daily.
"We noticed a change among the locals nearby who have started coming for jogging and walking in the ground. Meanwhile, many youngsters keen on the games are coming to play and joining us. It is all the fun and the days are all spent well," he added.
Dr Shahnawaz Alam, an active member of UMA and a resident nearby the ground daily removes the net to keep safe at his place.
"The Shivajinagar, Govandi, and nearby areas are known for drug addiction, which is a major issue. We cannot counsel everyone who is addicted to different drugs. But many youngsters are active and brighter and can achieve their dreams. Few of them have started joining us in the games. However, we have started counseling them about the wrong way or side of addiction they have chosen. We counsel them on how studies are important. Also, the addiction they are doing to just spending time will harm their future. We hope that in the coming days, we will make a change and rehab many in the ground itself," added Shahnawaz.
The doctors' team are also helping many locals with yoga and health tips to stay fit in their life.
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