To discourage visitors from bringing in their cars inside Nehru Zoological Park, authorities are contemplating a hike in the entry fee for vehicles. Presently, a charge of Rs.750 is collected for entry of cars and it could be hiked steeply, even doubled.

The move comes against the backdrop of growing concerns over pollution caused by the movement of vehicles inside zoo premises and its effect on animals and birds here. On an average, around 80 to 100 cars seek entry into the zoo and the numbers go up to around 300 on Sundays and holidays.

It is not just vehicular emissions that affect the ambient air, but also noise pollution caused by cars that has been a matter of worry for authorities. “Those driving in cars honk and play music, which is not good for the animals and birds. That’s why we are looking to discourage car entry by raising the fee,” an official said.

Till two years ago, the car entry fee was Rs.200, which was first raised to Rs.500 and later to Rs.750 this year, said P. Mallikarjuna Rao, Director of State Zoos. The issue of revising the amount again is under consideration and a decision will be taken soon, he said.

The zoo is also in the process of increasing its fleet of battery-operated buses, which presently has 11 vehicles. These 11 and 14-seaters make around 80 to 100 trips of the zoo everyday but are not sufficient on rush days such as Sundays and holidays. “We have to strengthen the alternative and provide more battery-operated vehicles to make visitors keep their cars outside,” said A. Sankaran, zoo curator.

The zoo also provides 50 bicycles at Rs.20 per hour and they have been in good demand. “We started with 20 bicycles and have increased the numbers given the demand,” Mr. Sankaran added.

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