New Delhi: Entry fee to World Heritage Monument Taj Mahal is likely to go up again as the Agra Development Authority (ADA) has proposed an increase in its share, weeks after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) effected a steep hike in ticket cost.
Entry ticket to Taj Mahal consists of two components - ASI fee and ADA charge, called 'toll tax'. Agra is the only place in the country where such 'toll tax' is collected from visitors to historical monuments.
From April 1, ASI had effected a three-fold increase in its share in the entry ticket for the 32 World Heritage Monuments, including Taj Mahal, to Rs 30 from Rs 10 for domestic visitor, while it was raised by 100 percent to Rs 500 from Rs 250 for a foreign national.
At present, a foreigner pays Rs 1,000 as entry fee for Taj Mahal with ASI and ADA bagging Rs 500 each, while domestic visitors shell out Rs 40 -- Rs 30 as ASI fee and Rs 10 ADA charge.
"There is a proposal for increasing the toll tax. It is pending with the state government for its approval," ADA Chairman Pradip Bhatnagar told PTI over phone.
However, he declined to give a time frame for the implementation of the proposal, saying the government has to give green signal to the long-pending proposal.
Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) President Subhash Goyal said if such a proposal is implemented, it would further reduce the number of Taj visitors, which is already witnessing a decline.
"ADA has demanded increasing its fee by 100 per cent to Rs 1,000 from the current Rs 500. If ASI's fee of Rs 500 is added to it, then a foreign national would be paying Rs 1,500 for visiting Taj. Similarly, there would also be hike in fee for domestic visitors. This is going to badly affect the number of Taj visitors," he said.
He said tour operators are against any move to increase the ticket price and would protest if the demand of ADA for fee hike is accepted.