Two days after the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee ordered sealing of all fitness centres, gyms, and yoga and meditation centres which opened after August 12, 2008, traders have demanded that the deadline be extended by amending the Master Plan. Warning of protests, traders said the move is also against the “spirit of the PM’s ‘Fit India’ movement”.
Brijesh Goyal, national convenor of the Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI), said the body has written a letter to the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Puri demanding that the deadline be extended.
At a press conference on Sunday, Goyal said, “It has come to my knowledge that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has given relaxations to restaurants on ground floors under the mixed-land use category, and increased their cut off date from September 2012 to 2019. Similarly, the DDA can give us relaxations. The proposal for the modification in the Master Plan has been sent to the UD ministry.”
The Master Plan clause
The Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021 does not allow fitness centres outside of DDA market complexes or shopping malls. However, an amendment in 2013 had declared those gyms and centres that came up before August 12, 2008, as legal. In the past, the DDA has extended the regularisation cut-off date for other businesses such as restaurants.
When contacted, a senior DDA official said such changes require detailed deliberations. He added that at present, these gyms are illegal and whether there will be a modification or not is something that cannot be commented upon presently.
Chirag Sethi of Anytime Fitness, which has 40 centres across Delhi-NCR, said: “We give yearly membership to people… After this move, our customers have started asking about the status of our gyms. People have stopped taking memberships and schemes, leading to a loss in business. We request authorities to extend the cut-off date.”
Vinay Sangwan of Classic Fitness Academy added, “The usual size of shops allotted in DDA markets is about 500 square feet, whereas we need at least 2,000 square feet to install large gym equipment. Also, every fitness centre owner cannot afford to have a facility in a shopping mall as it becomes very expensive.”
Traders said the monitoring committee’s order goes against the Prime Minister’s promotion of yoga at international levels and the ‘Fit India’ movement. “We expect that the DDA will give us relief because shutting these centres goes against the PM’s vision too,” said Goyal.
A senior official of the South MCD said, “We are just executing agency; our work is to follow the order. We are ready to meet traders but the decision on modification of the Master Plan has to be taken by DDA.”