November 21, 2019 08:34 AM NPT
By: Aditi Baral
People at Ratna Park in Kathmandu in this undated photo. Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, Nov 21: Keeping the health and well-being of the public in mind, all metropolitan cities and municipalities in Kathmandu Valley have started going for fitness spaces and public parks in their respective areas.
Bhaktapur Municipality has taken a lead here, building public parks with fitness equipment in each ward. Kathmandu and Lalitpur are following suit.
According to Kathmandu Metropolitan City Spokesperson Ishwar Man Dangol, they have already opened several yoga, sports and public fitness parks in various parts of the city over the past few months. “We want to increase their number. All these facilities are meant to provide a better environment for exercise,” he said. The facilities have a clean and good ambiance that can potentially have a big impact on public health. “Recently we have built an acupressure park at Swayambhu, meant especially for the elderly. The park has an elderly-friendly environment and clean surroundings. It also has some fitness equipment for youths,” said Dangol.
According to him, KMC has allocated around Rs 2.5 million to develop each of these parks. A gymnastics club at Khusibu which is set to be completed soon, is also part of KMC’s plans.
Neighboring Lalitpur Metropolitan City is going the same way. It already has parks in three different wards and many people come to exercise on a daily basis.
“Although we do not have many parks like KMC and Bhaktapur we do realize their importance, and we have allocated Rs 20 million this fiscal year for such parks,” said Raju Maharjan, spokesperson for the municipality.
Bhaktapur Municipality earlier opened ‘gymkhana parks’ in each ward, equipped with fitness gear. “Health and education have always been our topmost priority because healthier people with better education can contribute more for a better nation,” said Mayor Sunil Prajapati.
“Our main objective in building this gymkhana is to make people aware about their personal health and encourage them to exercise,” he said.
The municipality also had conducted a ‘Ghar Ghar ma Nursing Sewa (nursing services at doorsteps) campaign and various education-related drives.
Analyzing various data, the municipality found that many people in Bhaktapur are suffering from diseases like cancer, blood pressure, diabetes and various heart ailments.
As all these diseases are directly or indirectly related to lack of physical exercise, Mayor Prajapati and his team decided a year ago to build the public gymkhanas.
Initially, five of them were built in five different wards and there are also a couple of others at schools and colleges.
While 13 such facilities have already been built, the municipality plans an additional seven by the end of the fiscal year. All the gymkhanas can be accessed free of cost by anyone any time of day.
These exercise spaces have so far received overwhelming response from locals of all ages.
“Before this we had to pay to use the gyms but now it’s all free,” said Sanju Praganandha, a Bhaktapurite.
According to the locals, all the gymkhanas are well occupied all day long. Youths and the elderly can be seen exercising mostly in the mornings and evenings.