KOCHI: Opened with much hype in November 2019, the first open gymnasium of the city at Chathiath seems to have lost its glory. The equipment set up at the gym is almost damaged due to wear and tear. Lack of maintenance by Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA), which was entrusted with the task, has led to the decline of the facility.
“The cycle and the twister are completely damaged due to lack of maintenance. Other equipment are also in a dilapidated state. If the gym’s purpose was to promote healthy lifestyle, it has failed miserably,” said Vishnu, a youngster from Aroor who regularly used the open gym. The neglect has also led to a drop in the attendance at the gym.
“I used to spend nearly an hour every morning at the open gym after my morning walk. However, I stopped using it. These are machines which require proper maintenance. Though the companies that constructed flats at Chathiath maintain the walkway, they have not been tasked with maintaining the fitness equipment. That responsibility lies with GIDA,” said Vasudevan, a Vaduthala resident.
Queen’s Walkway near Goshree bridge, had become one of the favourite leisure spots of Kochiites. After Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden set up an open gym there during his stint as MLA, several fitness lovers started using the facility.
The dumping of garbage and stray dog menace also pose a headache to commuters and fitness lovers alike.
“Several streetlights are non-functional. The spot is now a hub of miscreants,” said Vasudevan.GIDA officials were not available for comments. However, Hibi, who had taken the initiative to develop the spot, said steps will be taken to restore the lost glory of the walkway and the open gym.
“This issue needs to be addressed at the earliest. GIDA is responsible for the maintenance of the open gym. Since they are getting good revenue by renting out space, it is their responsibility to maintain the facility. I will take this up with the district collector to find a solution,” Hibi said.
The collector is also the GIDA chairman.Meanwhile, Hibi said steps have been taken to repair the chairs at the walkway. “Steel rods will be replaced by stainless steel sheets which are not easy to remove. The work will be started soon,” he said.