After weeks of agitation, the people’s will finally gets lost in the staged drama of political parties that approved the proposed entry fee hike for Byculla Zoo.
However, some solace, as the initial proposal was a hike from Rs 5 to Rs 100 for adults, but the Standing Committee has now slashed it to half at Rs 50 for adults and Rs 25 for children in the final approval.
On Friday, Shiv Sena, with the help of Congress and NCP, managed to clear the proposal, with the final clearance in the civic house in the next month. Meanwhile, BJP and SP opposed the hike.
Interestingly, initially, the opposition parties had promised to oppose the hike, but in the meeting, the Congress and NCP switched sides and supported Sena’s move.
BJP leader Manoj Kotak said, “The revamp work of Byculla Zoo is incomplete and it is not fair to hike the entry fee. Also, increasing the fee for those who come for their morning walk and not allowing evening walks altogether is absolutely unjust.”
The hike proposal is meant to compensate the expenditure borne by the civic body for its pet Humboldt Penguin project. “The civic body spent Rs 40 crore on the project and now needs to recoup its investment.”
The other move that is creating an uproar is the new ban on evening walkers inside the zoo. According to the proposal, the joggers will be allowed only from morning 6 am to 8 am and have to pay Rs 150 per month. Earlier, they were charged R30 per month.
“This retrograde move will rob underprivileged citizens of their fundamental right to visit open spaces by restricting entry to Mumbai’s largest green public open space and creating an economic barrier,” said Hutokshi Rustomfram and Shubhada Nikharge, trustees of Save Rani Bagh Foundation.