Amid the buzz on yoga, Madhya Pradesh government has planned to revive seven yoga centres in the gas affected areas of Bhopal.
The centres, which were being run by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC), would be taken back from the municipal body and revived jointly by the state sports department and Bhopal gas relief and rehabilitation department.
The seven yoga centres were constructed by the Bhopal gas relief and rehabilitation department in the period from 2010 to 2013 with Rs 4 crore Central funds. They were especially meant to provide yoga therapy to the gas tragedy survivors, most of who are suffering from respiratory disorders.
It had handed six yoga centres — Rajendar Nagar, Shabri Nagar, Central Library Old City, Vajpayee Nagar, Shahenshah Garden and Jeevan Jyoti Colony — to the BMC last year, all of which remained non-functional. Only a yoga centre at Chouksey Nagar was partially functional.
Gas activists have even alleged that some of these centres were also being used by the BMC as marriage halls or to run ward level administrative offices.
Deputy director of the gas relief and rehabilitation department Dr KK Dubey, told Hindustan Times that the yoga centres handed over to the BMC did not work as the model was not “self-sustaining and BMC already had a lot on its plate.”
“We have now spoken to senior officials of the sports department so that we can revive these yoga centres with their help. These are not just yoga centres, they are actually yoga cum gym cum community centres. So we are taking the help of their experts in providing us trained gym instructors and guide us in buying the right fitness equipment,” he said.
Dr Dubey said the senior officials of the sports department had agreed about this collaboration.
Deputy director of sports and youth welfare, BS Yadav, informed reporters the department had already sent a proposal for the funds required to purchase fitness equipment and disburse salaries. "We are hopeful that the state government will soon give approval to the project, given the stress on yoga these days," he said.
Survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy have for long been protesting against the delay in starting yoga therapy despite setting up seven yoga centres.
Centres to be open for general public
The state government is planning to open the yoga centres for the gas tragedy survivors for the general public at a nominal charge.
"We are planning to charge very nominal amount from the survivors too, so that they take these centres seriously. If things are provided free, you don't value them that much. This is my experience," deputy director of the gas relief and rehabilitation department Dr KK Dubey said.