Facing closure, gym, yoga centre owners to meet monitoring panel, threaten protest
The Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021 does not allow fitness centres outside of DDA market complexes or shopping malls, but an amendment in 2013 had declared those elsewhere also legal up to a cut-off date of August 12, 2008. The facilities that mushroomed after that do not have legal sanction.Updated: Sep 30, 2019 04:08 IST
Owners of several gymnasiums, yoga and meditation centres in the city organised a meeting on Sunday and said that they would protest any move by the municipal bodies or Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to seal their facilities.
They said they have already written a letter to the minister of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA), Hardeep Puri, regarding a recent order of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee to “shut fitness centres on commercial, mixed land use and residential roads that have come up after August 12, 2008”. They said they will also seek time from the monitoring committee on Monday.
“If they do not meet us, or resolve our issue, we will use our democratic rights and stage a dharna (demonstration),” said Brijesh Goyal, national convener of the Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI).
The Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021 does not allow fitness centres outside of DDA market complexes or shopping malls, but an amendment in 2013 had declared those elsewhere also legal up to a cut-off date of August 12, 2008. The facilities that mushroomed after that do not have legal sanction.
“Our customers have already started enquiring about the status of our gyms after reading news reports on the sealing order. People have stopped taking memberships and schemes, leading to loss in business,” said Chirag Sethi of Anytime Fitness which has 40 centres in Delhi-NCR.
“The authorities must be practical. The usual size of shops allotted in DDA markets is about 500 square feet, whereas the minimum space we need to install large gym equipment such as treadmills is about 2000 square feet. Plus, not every fitness centre owner can afford to have a facility in a shopping mall as it is very expensive,” said Vinay Sangwan of the Classic Fitness Academy.
Fitness centre owners said the order by the monitoring committee goes against the Prime Minister’s promotion of yoga at international levels and ‘Fit India’ movement. Downing shutters on such businesses will also lead to large-scale unemployment, they claimed.
“I am a single mother of two kids and took a loan of several lakhs to start a gym in Malviya Nagar recently. It is a state-of-the-art facility. If it is closed by the authorities now, how will I run my household?” asked Bindia Sharma of Rhinos Gym.
A senior municipal official, requesting anonymity, said, “The Delhi Development Authority board recently passed an amendment to the Master Plan allowing restaurants on the ground floor on mixed land-use streets up to a new cut-off date of 17 September 2019. The earlier cut-off date was somewhere in 2012.”
“If such concessions can be made for eateries, why not fitness centres?” he asked.
First Published: Sep 29, 2019 20:44 IST