Number of visitors to Mumbai’s Byculla zoo dropped after fee hike, were you one of them?
The BMC recently increased the zoo’s fees from Rs5 for adults and Rs2 for children to Rs50 for adults and Rs100 for a family of two adults and two childrenmumbai Updated: Aug 03, 2017 09:48 IST
After the entry fee to Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan or Byculla zoo was hiked on Tuesday it saw less than half the usual number of visitors. However, the per day collection increased by Rs50,000.
The BMC recently increased the zoo’s fees from Rs5 for adults and Rs2 for children to Rs50 for adults and Rs100 for a family of two adults and two children. Regular visitors could earlier draw a monthly pass at Rs30, which has now been increased to Rs150 per month. The fee hike came into effect from August 1.
Contrary to its expectation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) collected a total of Rs65,000 in entry fees from the Byculla zoo on Tuesday from around 2,000 visitors (1,300 adults and 700 children). Earlier, before the fee hike, the BMC used to collect around Rs15,000 per day from an estimated 3,000 visitors.
Zoo director Dr Sanjay Tripathy said, “There has been no decrease in the number of genuine visitors to the zoo. Those who want to come with their families and enjoy nature do not mind paying more fees. The fee hike has discouraged visitors who caused a nuisance to genuine visitors.” He said officials sitting at ticket counters relayed to ensure college students and couples looking for lonesome corners and labourers, who were not interested in enjoying the garden and just dirtied it, were deterred from coming in on Tuesday but families poured in as usual.
Dr Tripathy said, “People would draw the monthly pass only to come to the zoo toilet at Rs1 per day every morning. They were not really interested in morning walks. Our regular morning walkers are happy to pay Rs150 per month.” However, only two monthly passes have been renewed in the past two days.
Activists rejected the BMC’s claims. Hutokshi Rustomfram, a trustee member of the Save Ranibagh Botanical Garden Foundation has called the fee hike “uncalled for” and “undemocratic”. She said, “The Byculla zoo is first a botanical garden and then a zoo. It is the largest and greenest open space left in space starved Mumbai. BMC has now created an economic barrier to access it and put a price on fresh air in Mumbai.”