In the next two months, get ready to pay more to visit the Byculla zoo, as a proposal to hike the entry fee from Rs5 to Rs100 was passed unopposed by the civic body’s garden committee on Monday .
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) were against the proposal last month, during a group leaders meeting. But on Monday, neither party objected.
The proposal will now be tabled before the standing committee, where the BJP and Shiv Sena each have 10 members, followed by three from the Congress and one each from the NCP, MNS and Samajwadi Party. With the BJP’s support, the proposal is likely to be approved. From the standing committee, the proposal will make its way to the 227-member general body meeting for a final nod — sources said the new fee could come into effect within two months.
The move to hike the price of the tickets came after the zoo’s newest members, the Humboldt Penguins, helped it attract large crowds . The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said it would use this revenue to maintain the penguin enclosure, which needs substantial funds.
Under the proposed fee structure, tickets for children aged three to 12 will be Rs25, up from the current Rs 2. Adults will pay Rs100, up from Rs 5 — a 20-fold hike. Entry is free for students of municipal schools and senior citizens.
Meanwhile, the Save Rani Bagh Botanical Garden Foundation, along with former civic chiefs Sharad Kale and DM Sukhtankar, met BMC chief Ajoy Mehta last month and asked him not to increase the entry fee for the zoo, one of the largest open spaces in the city. The foundation also began a signature campaign against the hike and plans to meet the civic chief, mayor and standing committee chairman to ask them to reconsider the proposal.