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Now, enjoy free access to bird sanctuary in Vasai

The sanctuary, which is located off the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway 8, used to charge Rs 36 per person entry fee and a motorist had to pay Rs 121.

mumbai Updated: Dec 20, 2016 23:23 IST
Ram Parmar
A Mahadev temple in the Tungareshwar Bird Sanctuary that attracts many pilgrims.
A Mahadev temple in the Tungareshwar Bird Sanctuary that attracts many pilgrims.(HT Photo)

Tourists can now enter Tungareshwar Bird Sanctuary in Vasai without paying any entry fee as the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday ordered the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), which looks after the sanctuary, to not collect any fee from tourists and pilgrims.

The sanctuary, which is located off the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway 8, used to charge Rs 36 per person entry fee and a motorist had to pay Rs 121. A Vasai-based NGO had been fighting for this cause since 2000 and they took help from Vilas Tare, MLA from Boisar, who met with the CM to raise the issue during the Winter Assembly session at Nagpur last week.

Despite the forest department charging such huge entry fee, basic facilities like toilets, drinking water were not available and this made the tourists time there difficult, said Dhananjay Shastri, president, Amchi Vasai, an NGO. He added, ‘The forest department also used to conduct searches and confiscate water bottles and snacks to prevent littering inside the forest. The government should have provided alternative facilities inside the forest.”

The tourists and pilgrims visit the Mahadev temple located inside the forest and paying for that is ridiculous, said Shastri. Initially, the Forest Department used to charge Rs 20 per person, and now it has been increased to Rs 36. “Since from January 2017, the department would have started charging Rs 40 per person, we approached Tare who then took up the matter with the CM at Nagpur last week during the Winter Assembly session,” Shastri said.

The NGO had also complained to the state asking them to abolish the entry fee. The order has been sent to the Chief Conservator of Forest and Director,SGNP,Borivli, which manages the Vasai bird sanctuary.

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