AGRA: Stakeholders in the tourism industry on Friday opposed the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) proposed hike on ticket rates for both foreign and domestic tourists visiting the Taj Mahal.
They objected to the second hike in two years and stressed on the need to focus on tourist problems like crowd management instead of ‘commercialisation’ of historical monuments, reports Hindustan Times.
According to the ASI proposal, ticket rates will be hiked for domestic tourists, nationals from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries and foreigners from other nations.
The ticket cost at monuments in Agra will include the share of both ASI and Agra Development Authority (ADA). The current charges for the ticket for Indians at the Taj Mahal are Rs 40 out of which Rs 30 goes to ASI and Rs 10 to ADA. It has been proposed to raise the cost to Rs 50 out of which Rs 40 will go to ASI.
Foreigners at the Taj Mahal are presently charged Rs 1000 which is shared equally by ADA and ASI but as per the notification dated December 21, the ASI proposes to enhance its share to Rs 600 which would raise the ticket cost to Rs 1,100.
“We received the notification two days ago. According to the procedure, the same has been circulated for inviting objections to it within 45 days” said Dr Bhuvan Vikram Singh, superintending archaeologist for Agra circle, ASI office, Agra.
Tourism trade bodies are preparing to file objections to the proposal. Trade pundits have expressed displeasure over the fact that ASI officials were aware of the notification about the hike but they didn’t share the information during meetings held on January 2 and 3.
“Foreigners are already paying a hefty amount of Rs1,000 for visiting the Taj Mahal despite crowd mismanagement and lack of facilities and infrastructure. However, nothing concrete has been decided to resolve these problems … but the second hike within two years is not welcome,” complained Rajeev Saxena, secretary of the Tourism Guild of Agra.