M4PNews| Chandigarh By Ustat Kaur Ustat834@gmail.com
A new protest in new normal situation post lockdown. All the protestors stood apart from each other maintaining social distancing. The post lockdown life is going to be way different from the previous one and so are the new ways of protest. Gym owners who are members of Tricity Gym Owners’ Association (TGOA) – An Association which is the representative body of gyms operating in Tricity, held a peaceful protest while adopting all safety measures like social distancing and wearing of masks, etc; to focus attention on the “verge to collapse’ of the fitness & gym industry in Tricity, due to repeated lock-downs.
The gym owners who numbered about 10 also raised their concern against the delay in the reopening of gyms. The gym owners are also miffed at what they feel is a step-motherly treatment of government being meted out to the industry. Their contention is that despite Unlock 1 seeing another client interaction based industry – ‘salons & hairdressers’ reopening and even restaurants & malls slated to reopen on June 8, the government is ignoring & delaying reopening of Gyms.
Sanjeev Kumar, President, TGOA said, “The prolonged lock-down has meant financial distress for owners of the 200 fitness centres & gyms spread across Tricity. Another issue is that as many as 3000 employees have had to go without pay for the last over 2 months. Despite writing to Advisor to Administrator, Chandigarh (UT), DC, Chandigarh, DC, Mohali, and DC, Panchkula and asking for reopening of gyms under the standard operating procedure, there has been no positive response. This has forced us to protest under the banner of TGOA by holding placards which showed different problems the industry is facing due to lock-down.”
The TGOA has also sent a letter to the Prime Minister asking for his intervention to resolve the problems of the industry in Tricity. These mainly include the financial burden on gym owners as well as large scale unemployment being faced by trainers, sales staff, spotters, house-keeping staff, etc.
Preetpal Sandhu, Vice President, TGOA said, “The protest was necessary to attract the attention of administrations in Tricity as well as the central government towards our beleaguered industry. Currently, the situation is so pathetic that many centres are not in a position to even reopen due to heavy financial liabilities. The main component of expenses is the rental amounts. We have requested the administration for a financial bailout package for gyms and also reiterated this demand to PM.”
Abhishek Gagneja, Secretary, TGOA said, “We also brought into focus during the protest another aspect which is being ignored by the government. The point we brought up front was the fact that gyms could prove to be places where one can develop immunity to fight the Coronavirus. Gyms provide better physical fitness and scientifically delivered exercise regimens which could be helpful in the current scenario.”
Suraj Bhan, General Secretary, Chandigarh Body Building Association said, “I represented the Chandigarh Body Building Association in the protest through which we bodybuilders have raised the problems being faced by us, due to the delayed reopening of gyms. We are losing our fitness and also the muscles we developed by working so hard. We have to compete in bodybuilding meets and if gyms do not reopen in a fortnight or so, our livelihood will be affected, as we are losing our built muscles due to lack of gym training.”
The gym owners said that the operations of gyms will be done under a highly effective SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) which will help in keeping the virus at bay.