Bhubaneswar: Odisha is getting open-air gymnasiums installed in 10 of its public parks which will be open for anyone to use for free. While the general perception of smart cities is that of automated transport, internet-connected devices and large IT parks, the focus shown by the Odisha govt on the health of the people is unique.
Initially, five parks were equipped with 12 basic fitness apparatus such as air walkers, sit-up benches, air swings, twisters, set backs or gliders, push and pull up chairs, knee/hip raise on parallel bars, big shoulder wheels, spinners, benches with fixed dumbbell, benches with fixed weight lift and poles with fixed weight lifts. Soon afterwards, five more parks were added to the list.
The ten parks which will be getting the equipments are:
- Buddha Jayanti Park at Niladri Vihar,
- Biju Patnaik Park at Unit VI,
- Guru Kelucharan Park at Gadakana,
- Madhusudan Park at Pokhariput,
- Kharavela Park at Khandagiri,
- Indira Gandhi Park on the Sachivalaya Marg,
- Dharma Vihar Park,
- Unit VIII Park,
- Harekrushna Mahatab Park near Arts Block of BJB Autonomous College, and
- Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Park near Utkal University.
Each centre will have a budget of Rs. 48 lakh, and the entire project has been allotted Rs. 2.5 crore. While installing the equipments, proper care has been taken to choose the type of exercises best suited for that particular region. The Chief Horticulturist of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Mr. Ashok N. Dhar explains, “For example, the kind of equipment we will install at Niladri Vihar will be meant for people aged between 17 and 25 years, but we can’t do the same at BJB Nagar as the maximum population here are elderly and retired people.”
However, some residents from areas which have already got equipped with the gyms have demanded roofing over the machinery, as it is being subjected to dust and rain and getting degraded. It is to be hoped that the authorities take a note of the matter and ensure roofs over the equipments.
The idea to have open-air gymnasiums is a step in the right direction. While on one hand it is a way of providing preventive healthcare to people wherein they stay healthy and do not require visits to hospitals, on the other hand it also provides opportunities for enhanced social interaction across age, gender, community and economic status.