Educational trips for schoolchildren to the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park at Katraj have been free till now. Citing increased expenditures of the zoo,PMC administration has proposed charging an entry fee of Rs 5 per student for educational trips and doubling the ticket charges for citizens.
In the proposal tabled before the standing committee,PMC said the food and medical expenses for the animals is more than the total revenue earned from the fee collected from visitors. Hence,there is a need to increase the entry fee. It is the lowest in the country, said an official.
The proposal said that the entry charges have not been increased since November 2008. If it is accepted,children upto the age of 12 will be charged Rs 10 instead of Rs 5 and adults will be charged Rs 20 instead of Rs 10. The entry fee for foreigners will also go up from Rs 25 to Rs 50.
However,it will continue to provide free entry to the blind and physically challenged. The administration has also proposed no charges for still photography,but plan to charge Rs 100 to shoot videos inside the zoo. The charges for the battery-operated van will be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 for children and from Rs 20 to Rs 30 for adults. A similar proposal was tabled in 2010 but the elected representatives had rejected it.
The civic administration said there are a total of 350 animals and 45 different species of birds at the zoo.
In 2009-10,the expenditure of the zoo was Rs 1.96 crore. It increased to Rs 2.54 crore in 2010-11 and Rs 2.93 crore in 2011-12.