Is it the lack of space that's stopping you from pivoting in style? Head to the skating rink in Shivaji Park
MUMBAI: It’s taken 14 years, but now, diehard skaters have a reason to celebrate. The 110 by 90 feet skating rink at the Ram Hari Kishan Dhote Udyan in Shivaji Park near Hinduja Hospital will be operational from mid-April.
The Bombay Roller Skating Association (BRSA), which will maintain and operate the rink, claims that it is the biggest in Mumbai. The rink was built in 1994, but was not in use for many reasons.
There were objections to it being used for commercial purposes. There were also issues pertaining to the coaching fees — the civic body had initially disallowed the BRSA to charge a fee for teaching people to skate, and the rink was left non-operational for 14 years.
“There was a misconception that this rink would be utilised for commercial purpose. But we are not here to make money. If that were so, I wouldn’t have waited for 14 long years. We are transparent and we had spent Rs11 lakh on its construction,” said Bapu Nadkarni, president, BRSA. The idea of opening a roller skating rink in Mahim came to Nadkarni when he saw two skaters being bumped off by a taxi.
“Our maintenance cost, which includes employing coaches, watchmen, cleaners and basic administration comes to Rs25,000 in a month. But the BMC has now granted permission to charge coaching fees,” said Harnish Zhaveri, secretary, BRSA.
According to deputy municipal commissioner, Sudhir Naik, the charges are identical to that of the Andheri Sports Complex. So, if a student wants to enroll for a roller-skating course, the monthly fees will be about Rs350.
In an attempt to ensure that children from lower-income groups will not be deprived, Nadkarni aims to offer free coaching class to students. “All students from municipal schools in the Mahim area will be coached for free provided they bring their own skates,” he said. To this effect, circulars have been issued to schools in the area.
BRSA also has plans to increase the peripheral area of the rink to 250 metres and bring it to Olympics standards in a year’s time.