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Unique Recycled Jungle Gym in the middle of Bankura’s Forest

12 May, 2022 11:32:52
Unique Recycled Jungle Gym in the middle of Bankura’s Forest

As dawn breaks and the first rays of the morning sun softly caress the evergreen leaves of the tall Sal and Mahua trees, birds nestled amid the branches wake up after their night-long slumber and begin their unbridled chirping. Another day begins. Soon enough, brisk footfalls on the rusty-red path advancing towards the forest can be discerned. A little later silhouette of people of varying ages can be spotted heading towards the jungle -- children, teenagers, young men and women, housewives, even the elderly keep going in and out of the jungle. There seems to be no respite from this incessant to and fro journey. This is not a stray incident. This is a routine that the villagers of Balrampur in Sonamukhi block have been following religiously for the past 10 years. On the Bishnupur-Sonamukhi route, residents of Balarampur have set up an eco-gym at the entrance of the forest near Patharmora on Sonamukhi Road. Exercise is an integral part of modern life and with this view in mind, Bankura Eco-Gym has been set up by a group of youths in the jungle as there is no suitable place to exercise in Balrampur, Bankura.

This jungle gym has been set up by recycling discarded household items. The organizers, a group of local youths, took the initiative to set up a gym and they scouted for old tractor tires, motorbike and bicycle tires, tubes, splintered electric cement poles, iron pipes from villagers who donated happily for the project when they were told about the project.

And with all the throwaway appliances, local youths built the infrastructure of the gym. The eco gym is equipped with all state-of-the-art apparatus from barbells, dumbbells, chinning bars, don bars, rescue rope training unit, yoga zone, weightlifting gadgets etc. There is a 400-meter running track in the jungle as well. And the best part of the initiative is that almost no financial investment was required to set up the gym. All the villagers can avail the workout facility at the jungle eco gym completely free of cost. 


Balarampur is a small hamlet tucked in the hinterland and is far from its nearest town, Sonamukhi. Balrampur village to Bishnupur subdivision town is about 17 km and the distance from Sonamukhi town is also about 11 km. Besides, for the residents of Balrampur, a village of marginal farmers and laborers, it is a luxury to even think of commuting all the way to Sonamukhi and getting membership of a gym and then attending physical training sessions regularly. But the villagers were determined to find an alternative. They put on their thinking caps and devised this out-of-the-box solution. The jungle eco-gym was set up as an alternative solution to this problem.

This gym has been a hit from the word, ‘go.’ The organizers have been sensitizing the new generation about the importance of physical exercise and their efforts are paying off and the gym is fast gaining popularity. Youngsters enthusiastically join the regimental training and enjoy the group activities. The best outcome of this gym is that a large number of unemployed boys who have been exercising regularly here have successfully cleared the physical fitness test -- a mandatory part of a job in the Armed forces. In fact, a sizable number of youths from the village have been inducted in the Army or the police force. The residents of Balarampur village have realized the importance of exercise and its relation to a healthy mind and  a robust body.  The need for physical exercise is increasing. Even the tiny tots are flocking to the eco gym with their parents to join the league. This is a revolution of sorts that is transforming an entire village and inspiring neighboring villages to join in the campaign for a better and fitter health. The kids love to exercise amid this natural environment. The responsibility for the daily maintenance of the gym is shared by villagers who are mostly professionals – ex-Army man, school teachers or local youths who pitch in this welfare project happily.   

Balarampur is located in the midst of the wild elephants’ corridor and very often a herd of elephants passing through the jungle gym, trample and destroy the equipment. So, the organizers have to deal with the challenge of repairing the damage and rebuilding the gym. Undoubtedly, the uniqueness of the gym is admirable. But this eco-gym can be upgraded to another level if initiative is undertaken for modernization of this gym with financial support of the government or with the initiative of the forest department. The youth brigade of Balarampur village is optimistic and dream of a better future for all. 

Image and Video Courtesy : Bankura 24x7 Facebook

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