Call to regulate health, fitness clubs

Kathmandu, February 2

Issue of safety standards to be adopted by health and fitness clubs was raised in the National Assembly today.

Speaking at the zero hour of the Upper House, lawmaker Bimala Paudel Rai urged the government to learn something from the death of a couple in a sauna of a health club on January 29, in Lalitpur.

Hasta Garbuja Magar, 40, and his wife Netra Kumari Magar, 37, were found dead in the sauna. “It is a high time for the government to develop and implement the operating standard of health clubs to prevent such incidents in the future. The socalled health and fitness clubs have been operating on their own, without any obligation to follow safety standards. It is an alarming situation,” she said. “A person doesn’t go to a fitness club to die. Death of the couple is an evidence of negligence on part of the health, fitness club owner. The government should regulate mushrooming fitness clubs.”

Hasta Garbuja and Netra Kumari had died of suffocation in the sauna due to carbon monoxide emitted by a gas geyser heater placed inside the facility. Hasta Garbuja was a personal secretary to former minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa Magar, who is also a ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader.

According to Jawalakhel-based Metropolitan Police Range, both of them were found unconscious in the sauna locked from inside at 9:11pm that day. Preliminary investigation showed that the couple used the gas geyser heater to take a bath after using the sauna. They were frequent visitors to the health club.

According to police, the exhaust fan inside the bathroom was not turned off. Police have launched investigation to ascertain any negligence on part of the health club management in adopting safety measures in the sauna. Geysers connected to liquefied petroleum gas, used in bathrooms pose a serious threat to life if necessary safety requirements are not met.