Mumbai: Cops shut down Vasai-Virar gyms
Following this paper's report about collusion between local authorities and fitness centres, commissioner cracks down
The Mira-Bhayandar and Vasai-Virar commissionerate has cracked down on gyms found operating against government guidelines. Hours after mid-day published a report on the same, commissioner Sadanand Date directed his staff to conduct surprise checks and take action against gym owners.
Team from Arnala police station reached the gyms — Elite Fitness Club and One Rep Max Fitness Club in Virar and registered cases against the owners. A team of Manikpur cops reached Cerejo 11 Fitness in Vasai and asked the owner to appear at the police station, after which he was booked.
Speaking to mid-day, additional superintendent of police Vijaykant Sagar said, "We have taken action against the gym owners under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC and have asked them to keep their centres shut until the government gives a nod to operate them."
One Rep Max Fitness Hub in Virar. Pic/Hanif Patel
Gym owner Roman Cerejo said, "I have been warned by the cops. They have booked me in a case. I had opened the gym only because my staff was running out of money. It was shut since the lockdown started, but I recently opened it to help my staff run their families. I feel helpless that I can't do anything for them. The Manikpur cops have asked me to appear at the police station again on October 7."
"Some of my staff had started to work as labourers at building construction sites in Vasai and Virar because the gym was shut. Can you imagine how difficult it is to run a house when there is no income for six to seven months?" he said.
Footwear seen outside Out Raw gym in old Panvel. Pic/Hanif Patel
Electricity bills, rent
Cerejo further added that the amount he pays towards electricity bills for his gym was extremely high.
"The rent of the space is '2.75 lakh per month. I also have to pay salaries to my staff members. How will I manage? The government must look into our pathetic financial conditions. The restaurants and bars have opened up, then what is the problem in re-opening the gyms?" he asked.
Some still functioning
Sources further added that there were several fitness centres in Vasai-Virar, Mira Bhayandar, Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, which were functioning discreetly, and that the cops should take action against the violators.
mid-day found some gyms operating in Panvel on Sunday. When asked about it, DCP (Zone 2), Shivraj Patil said, "Since it has been brought to my knowledge now, we will take action those who are violating lockdown orders."
'Gym owners need to wait'
Meanwhile, health minister Rajesh Tope said, "The gym owners need to wait as our internal discussions regarding re-opening gyms in Maharashtra are underway. Their association is in constant touch with us but the threat of the pandemic is high and we cannot afford to allow them to re-open the fitness centres. If any gym is found operational, action will be taken against them under the ambit of law."
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