No concession for schoolchildren, local people
The hike in entry fees which came into effect on Friday at the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) is expected to increase substantially the revenue of the tourist attraction.
Enquiries made by The Hindu revealed that the practice of reducing the entry fees after the conclusion of the summer tourist season has also been discontinued.
Since on an average 2,500 persons cross the threshold of the GBG during weekdays and about 5,200 during the weekends, the daily earnings are expected to go up to about Rs. 75,000 and Rs.1.50 lakh respectively. The garden attracts around 22 lakh visitors annually.
Pointing out that during the current fiscal the flow of tourists was down by 50,000, Assistant Director of Horticulture V. Ramsundar said that it was due to the disturbances that followed the inter-State Mullai Periyar and Cauvery problems. However the hike in the entry fee will make up the shortfall in the revenue before the end of the fiscal.
The income from entry fees, cameras, video cameras etc., during 2013-14 is expected to be about Rs. 5 crore. To a question, he said that the rules do not permit any concession for local visitors, even schoolchildren.
To another question, he said that people who visit the garden daily for walking are given permits after they produce proof of residence documents. Stating that a nominal charge is collected, he said that they number about a hundred.
Stating that prolonged dry conditions have made the task of getting the GBG ready for the summer very difficult, Dr. Ramsundar said that water had to be brought by a tanker on Thursday to provide moisture to the plants in the nurseries.
On account of this year’s experience a scheme to augment irrigation during emergencies is in the process of being put in place. The source will be streams running along the flanks of the garden.