PCMC hikes kids’ fee for gardens, activists cry foul

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has increased entry fee for children at big gardens, drawing criticism from civic activists. On Tuesday, the civic general body presided over by Mayor Mohini Lande approved the civic administration proposal to raise fee for children from Re 1 to Rs 5 and adults from Rs 2 to Rs 10. The PCMC also substantially hiked rates for taking pictures or shooting videos in the gardens.

The civic administration proposal was approved without discussion as several corporators who had gone full throttle on the civic administration's neglect of development works looked tired to take up any other issue.

It was also decided to ban political programmes and display of flags and banners of political parties in gardens. The proposal to hike rates was moved by NCP corporator Ulhas Shetty. The gardens are Durga Devi Hills in Nigdi, Ganesh Lake garden in Pradhikaran, Lake Garden in Bhosari, Boat Club and Barne garden in Thergaon, Gulabpushpa Garden, Nehrunagar, Jijau garden Pimple Gurav and Savitribai Phule garden.

For eight hours of video-shooting, PCMC charge has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000. PCMC had not been charging fee for cultural programmes, music concerts, lectures and school programmes. Henceforth, Rs 1,000 will be collected per day for such programmes, officials said.

Programmes by PCMC will be free in all gardens. PCMC garden superintendent Suresh Salunkhe said the proposal had been under consideration since 2005.

"We had not pushed it. Now we have decided to implement it," he said. Salunkhe said the hike whether for children or adults, was not very high compared to other civic bodies. "Other civic bodies charge up to Rs 25," he said. Besides, the hike is applicable only to eight gardens and not all gardens, Salunkhe said. "We have 154 gardens, but fees will be charged only in eight gardens. Entry will be free for other gardens," he said.

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