BHUBANESWAR: A letter from state election commissioner Ajit Tripathy has put a question mark over the proposed gymnasium at Biju Patnaik Park here. He has asked the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) to stop the construction work and shift the project elsewhere.
Tripathy confirmed having written the letter on January 21 after some joggers, mostly senior citizens, approached him and expressed apprehension about possible disturbance the gymnasium could cause.
"I have brought it to the notice of the chief secretary. But my letter should not be treated as an order as my office is not authorized to do so. It is just a request," he added.
The BDA authorities are stumped. The work on the Rs 42-lakh gymnasium over 3,000 square feet inside the park began recently and more than 3 lakh has been spent on it.
"We have stopped the construction work and will try to shift it to another place. We could have ignored the commissioner's letter, but some senior bureaucrats too objected to the gymnasium," said a BDA officer, requesting anonymity.
Senior officers, including BDA vice-chairman Vishal Dev, refused to comment on the issue.
The BDA had planned to operate the gymnasium in public-private-partnership mode. A private company would have been engaged to purchase instruments and operate and maintain the gym.
"The gymnasium was an attempt to provide extra facilities to visitors. Those, who can hardly take time off their busy schedule to visit gyms, would have found it convenient to take care of their health at the park during morning or evening walks," said another BDA officer.
The BDA is planning a similar project at Indira Gandhi Park, the officer added.