With the staff at civic gardens instructed not to accept scrapped notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500, the revenue of the the garden department of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has dropped drastically, indicating poor turnout of visitors at gardens where an entry fee is charged. Of the 100 gardens under the PMC’s jurisdiction, visitors have to pay a fee to enter 22 of them. The civic body also charges visitors separately for availing facilities like riding on toy trains and participating in adventure sports.
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The maximum charge per person is Rs 40 for adventure sports at Peshwe Park, followed by Rs 25 as the entry fee to the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, while a ride on the toy train costs Rs 10. According to the register on the sale of tickets by the garden department, the revenue collected on November 8 — the day before the demonetisation announcement — was Rs 53,220.
Since the next day, when Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes were scrapped, the collection has seen a significant dip every day, except weekly holidays. On November 15, the civic garden department had collected Rs 10,000. It collected Rs 9,056 on November 16 and only Rs 7,848 on November 17.
“The civic garden department seeks good revenue collection during school vacations and holidays. The reduction in the collection usually takes place when the schools reopen, but it has shown a drop now as well,” said Ashok Ghorpade, PMC’s garden superintendent.
Meanwhile, the civic garden department deposits the cash collected in a bank in the PMC’s main building on a daily basis, but the bank has now informed the department that it is not going to accept the scrapped notes. “We have urged the staff manning the ticket counters at various gardens not to accept such notes,” he said. The staff of the civic garden department said that visitors who try to pay with the demonetised notes are being turned away and this has led to a drop in the number of people visiting the gardens with paid entry.
“There was a huge rush during Diwali vacation… the decision to abolish Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes has affected the number of visitors to the gardens as citizens are struggling to get notes of lower denominations,” she said.