The BJP — the second largest party in the BMC — on Tuesday opposed the civic body’s proposal to increase entry fee to the Byculla zoo from Rs5 to Rs100.
This came after the markets and garden committee approved the proposal on Monday.
BJP’s city president Ashish Shelar wrote to civic chief Ajoy Mehta oppose the hike in fee. He said that considering that the zoo is in a poor state with a few animals in captivity and as it is yet to be revamped, it would be unfair to make citizens pay 20 times the usual amount to visit it. He also tweeted that the BJP would oppose the hike.
With the BJP’s opposition, the civic administration will now find it difficult to get the proposal cleared from the standing committee and the general body. The proposal will soon be tabled before the standing committee which comprises 10 members each of BJP and Shiv Sena, three from Congress and one each from NCP, MNS and Samajwadi Party.
While the Sena feels that the increase in entry fee is appropriate, it will have to woo other parties in the BMC to clear the proposal. Yashwant Jadhav, leader of house and Sena corporator, said, “We need to increase the entry fee because the existing amount is too low. The money will be used to develop the zoo.”
The Sena is 26 members short of clear majority in the general body and thus will need support from others. Further, the Congress too is likely to oppose the proposal in the standing committee meeting. A civic official said that the fee hike cannot be implemented unless it is approved by the general body.
Congress group leader Ravi Raja said, “We will oppose the proposal because it is unfair to charge the citizens such a massive amount. We support a hike in the entry fee but not as much as the Sena is proposing. We will move an amendment for this once the proposal is tabled in the standing committee.”
The BMC decided to increase the entry fee after it imported the Humboldt Penguins from South Korea which attracted large crowds. A civic official said that the revenue would be used to maintain the penguin enclosure and others would be constructed for various exotic species.
Under the proposed fee structure, tickets for children upto 12 years will be increased from Rs2 to Rs25 while for adults, it will be increased from Rs20 to Rs100. Entry is free for students of municipal schools and senior citizens.