Entry fees in amusement parks and museums are the norm. But, in an unprecedented move, when the management of Jal Vayu Vihar near Kammanahalli here decides to charge fees for entering its layout, residents are not amused.
The entry fee applies to regular visitors only — servants, newspaper vendors, grocery store delivery boys and students who go for tuitions in the apartments. Others who go into the layout to use the ATM, bank or the post office are spared the fee.
H.S. Satyanarayana, secretary of the Jal Vayu Vihar Apartment Owners' Association, said fee was being collected from visitors for making identity cards, which they have to carry to enter the layout. He also said the payment for identity cards was only once a year which is not such a huge burden. “It is also a matter of security and we are doing this for the residents,” he said, defending the association's move.
But the residents are not convinced. M. Ganesan, a resident, said the fee was unnecessary and a burden, especially on those belonging to weaker sections of society. “How can my maid afford to pay Rs. 50 for an identity card when she earns such a meagre amount?” he asked.
Another resident, who refused to be named, said the collections from the entry fees and other maintenance costs such as parking fee was going to the association's coffers in the name of infrastructure.
“When the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is maintaining the road, the street lights and the garbage collection, what infrastructure costs does the association have to bear?” he questioned.
Some also complained of encroachments on roads, considered as undivided property, by some residents.
For long, the administration of gated communities has been a challenge to the BBMP. Even though the basic infrastructure within the community is provided by the palike, the association or co-operative society formed by the apartment owners behave like a government body and take over the BBMP's jurisdiction too.
In 2008, the then BBMP Commissioner had issued a notice to the public terming gated communities “illegal”.
Padmanabha Reddy, councillor of Kacharakanahalli ward under which the layout falls, said this was not the first time he was hearing complaints about Jal Vayu Vihar. “I was not aware of the entry fee. I will see what can be done,” he said.
The sub-registrar of cooperative societies too shrugged off saying he can only act if he is approached with a complaint.