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Mumbaiites oppose ₹100 fee for Byculla zoo

Citizens claim that if the penguins were brought in with tax payers’ money, then why should they pay extra for the upkeep of the birds.

mumbai Updated: Apr 26, 2017 00:23 IST
Chetna Yerunkar
Chetna Yerunkar
Hindustan Times
Byculla zoo,Mumbai,Save Rani Bagh Botanical Garden foundatio
The move came in after the new entrants Humboldt Penguins drew large crowds. (HT file photo)

Prominent citizens have opposed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) decision to increase the entry fee of Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan which houses city zoo and a botanical garden.

Members of Save Rani Bagh Botanical Garden foundation along with two former civic chiefs, Sharad Kale and DM Sukhtankar, met BMC chief Ajoy Mehta on Monday to demand that the botanical garden — one of the largest open spaces in the city — should be easily accessible to the citizens and proposed increase should not be implemented.

The civic body is set to increase the entry fee of adults to Byculla zoo from Rs5 to Rs100 while ticket price for children (3-12 years) will be increased from Rs2 to Rs25. Students from municipal schools will, however, get to enter the zoo premises free of cost.

To boost family visits, the civic body has decided to charge a family of four —mother, father and two children below the age of 12 — only Rs100. If the family wants to bring along more children, they will have to shell out Rs25 per child.

The move came in after the new entrants Humboldt Penguins drew large crowds. The civic body plans to use the revenue to maintain the penguin enclosure which will require substantial funds.

However, citizens said that this move would deprive them from easy access to the open spaces. Kale said, “Increased prices will discourage people from visiting the botanical garden.” A trustee of Save Rani Bagh, Hutokshi Rustomfram, said, “It is first a botanical garden and then a zoo. It won’t be fair if people have to pay Rs100 to enter a garden.”

On the other hand, civic officials said that it is first time in two decades that they have increased the entry fee substantially. While Mehta heard the citizens, he has been non-committal on reduction of entry fee, revealed a civic source.

First Published: Apr 26, 2017 00:23 IST