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SPPU’s decision to charge morning walkers draws flak; minister tweets ‘scheme suspended’

The circular, issued by SPPU registrar Prafulla Pawar on a new scheme, ‘SPPU Oxy Park initiative’, stated that all outsiders, except students and university staffers, who visited the campus for walks would have to pay Rs 1,000 per month as membership fees.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
Updated: June 13, 2021 9:38:06 am
SPPU admissions, pune university admissionsThe last date for applying with late fees is July 15, 11:59 pm (File photo)

Less than 24 hours after the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) authorities declared that morning and evening walkers will have to pay a monthly subscription fee, evoking widespread criticism online, the state higher and technical education minister Uday Samant on Saturday announced its suspension on Twitter.

The circular, issued by SPPU registrar Prafulla Pawar on a new scheme, ‘SPPU Oxy Park initiative’, stated that all outsiders, except students and university staffers, who visited the 411-acre campus for morning and evening walks would have to pay Rs 1,000 per month as membership fees. Only outsiders with membership card would be allowed entry for exercise between 4.30 am and 8 am and 6.30 pm and 8 pm, it stated.

The scheme, which was to come into effect from June 21 (observed as International Day of Yoga), added that besides entry for walks, members would be entitled to emergency medical services and a cardiac ambulance, free parking, open gym, free drinking water and toilet facilities, concession in university gymnasium, library and sports facilities among other things.

As soon as the circular was shared in the public domain, it was met with severe criticism from all quarters. The university ground has been popular among morning walks for decades and a decision to impose a fee angered several people, many of whom took to social media to criticise the scheme.

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On Saturday morning, Samant tweeted: “SPPU was going to start a scheme called SPPU Oxy Park under which common citizens would have to pay fees for morning and evening walks on campus. This decision has been suspended and they have been asked to restructure the scheme.”

Later in the day, university registrar Prafulla Pawar confirmed the same. “The scheme will be restructured, we will issue the details later,” he said.

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