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The much anticipated New SAC Gym was inaugurated today, after a long wait of 3 years by the the Director, Prof Devang Khakar. It is one of the largest and most expensive projects the Institute Sports Council has ever undertaken. The second floor of the New Gymkhana building hosts the extravagant gym, well stacked with world class equipment and facilities. The gym houses amenities like a rowing machine, chest press, treadmills, four stack multi gym, elliptical cross trainer and of course, an array of dumbbells.
The project was conceptualized 3 years ago but the gym has become fully operational now. We aim to shed some light on the undertaking of this project and more importantly the reasons behind the inordinate amount of delay.
The idea was proposed in Shashank Shrivastava’s (GSSA 2014-15) tenure, the reason being the decrepit condition of the old SAC gym. Subsequently, a Gym Committee headed by our sports officer Mr. B.P. Appaji was formed to oversee the establishment of this project in Nihal Baig’s tenure (GSSA 2015-16). A tender was approved from MMD (Materials Management Division) with a budget of 2 crores. Due to the budget crunch experienced by the institute as well as some issues in the tender, there was a delay in procuring the lowest bid and the tender had expired.
The next GSSA, Sahil Dhingra decided to start the project from scratch. A new committee was formed for taking the initiative forward which was later merged with the existing one. The committee decided to procure equipment comparable to international standards. A few changes like increasing the tender duration were made to the previous tender and a new tender was floated. The revised tender was slashed by further budget cuts. Additional money was required to account for import duties, which was waived off through MHRD. A professor in the BSBE department required treadmills for research purposes, hence a letter was sent to MHRD requesting a waiver which was later approved. The final bid, which included the annual maintenance costs, amounted to Rs 1.1 crores. There were three consignments which came from the USA, India (one of the brands manufactured in India) and China. Due to a shutdown of the Chinese market in February, there was a delay in arrival of the consignment from China. After paperwork and delays, some of the equipment was available in the new gym by July 2017 and the rest of it was delivered, spaced out in 3 consignments, by the month of November.
Since we had a gym well stacked with world class facilities in a reasonably close proximity for over a year, the question very naturally follows – “Why couldn’t we use it?”. It would have been disappointing if such an amazing and expensive facility fell prey to issues like poor maintenance and mishandling. To nip the problem in the bud, the Gym committee decided to avail Gym management services for overseeing the functioning of the gym. In Deepak Kinra’s tenure (GSSA 2017-18), the tender for the gym management system and trainers which costed around 10-12 lakhs was approved. From the month of July to September, bids for gym management services were floated and by October the vendor was finalized. Things were fine until a major roadblock rolled out in the form of ERP. The online purchase portal which was used earlier for such purposes was shut down, and the ERP framework was introduced. The material management division (MMD) was being trained to effectively use ERP in the months of November and December. The purchase indent was approved on the online purchase portal, but since it was closed it had to be done again on ERP. The major hurdles in the process due to ERP were migrating the data from the OPS to ERP, as well as contacting the vendors again who were a part of the initial bid to register again on the ERP to make the bid valid. According to Deepak, this was the major roadblock.
The new GSSA Ritik Madan plans to set up the biometric access facility for the gym. The biometric access will also be linked with the ‘pay per class’ fitness initiative of the council, as well as with the other sports facilities in the institute. The gym facilities would be chargeable for alumni and the institute staff, but the student populace can avail the gym facilities free of cost. Faculty and staff access to the gym will be facilitated by a personalized card loaded with their biometric details. In case the biometric installation is stalled due to delays, Ritik has an alternate plan to hire a full time person to manage the entry records of the gym.
To conclude, there were multiple roadblocks and unforeseen circumstances in setting up the new SAC gym. However, now that these issues have been dealt with and the gym has been inaugurated, it is definitely something everyone can look forward to.