Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Konark, Apr 2:
A day after government effected a hike in the entry fee for 116 monuments, including Sun Temple in Konark, under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Konark Suraksha Samiti (KSS) today locked the ticket counter protesting the government decision.
Notably, the government announced three-fold hike for domestic visitors and 100 per cent for foreign tourists for entry into the historic monuments across the country.
“We are demanding rollback of the decision. Today, we will decide to go on an indefinite protest till our demands are met,” Badal Das, convenor of Konark Suraksha Samiti said.
The tourists were disappointed after being denied entry to the 13th century Hindu temple following the protests.
“It is a wrong step. We have come from far-off places to visit the temple but found that the ticket counter and the entry gate have been closed by local people. The hike should have been such that all classes of visitors should afford it,” a tourist said.
For the 32 ‘World Heritage Monuments’, the ticket price has been increased from Rs 10 to Rs 30 for the domestic visitor, while the entry fee for foreign tourists has been doubled from Rs 250 to Rs 500.
Whereas the ticket rates for monuments other than the World Heritage ones has been increased at par with the World Heritage sites. The entry fee has been increased from Rs 5 to Rs 15 for the domestic visitor and Rs 100 to Rs 200 for foreigners.
On the other hand, tourists from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries are treated at par with Indians and are charged similarly.
It may be mentioned that the revision in visitors’ fee comes after a period of more than 15 years as the last hike took place in 2000.
Konark Suraksha Samiti, an organisation spearheading the movement for preservation and conservation of the monument, had been demanding for waiver of entry fee to the famous heritage site.