CHENNAI: Karate, Silambam and other martial arts trainers in the city, who take classes in city corporation parks, have been unable to do so for some time now because private contractors have taken over maintenance of skating rinks, along with badminton and tennis courts, in the parks.
These trainers do not have private coaching centres and sometimes take classes free of cost. Since the coach and students are bare-footed during the classes, these classes were taken when the skating rinks in parks were not in use.
However, private contractors who have undertaken maintenance work of skating rinks in prominent parks said that they are still undecided on whether or not these classes should be allowed.
Now, some coaches take classes in other areas in the parks but members of the public, who find them a nuisance, complain against them, said trainers.
"Since they asked us not to use the skating rink, we were practising in other parts of the park which not only hurts the feet but also creates problems for morning walkers and joggers. I will have to give up taking classes there," said Vijay (name changed), a Silambam trainer who said he has been taking classes in a prominent city park for 15 years.
He has around 30 students, mostly from economically backward families, at least half of whom attend classes free of cost, he said.
When contacted, a senior Corporation official said they will be allowed to conduct classes only as long as no complaints are made against them by the public.
A private contractor who has undertaken maintenance of skating rinks, badminton and tennis courts in around 30 city parks including in KK Nagar, Porur and MMDA said that they are yet to take a decision on whether or not these classes will be allowed.
"For now, skating, badminton and tennis classes can be taken as long as they pay the fixed user fee. For other classes, we have not taken a decision. We are talking to some Karate and Silambam coaches who have asked us to give permission," said an employee of the firm.
"For skating, we have fixed the charges at Rs 500 per student every month. Other classes may be taken free of cost, if we decide to allow them," he added.
Students, who prefer these classes to more expensive private coaching in institutes, are also affected.
"Now, the coaches have to increase the fees that they get from students to accommodate the user fee. Apart from skating, the charges are Rs 2000 for tennis and Rs 1000 for badminton," said Chandru D, a resident of MGR Nagar, Virugambakkam.