Millennium Post

Entry fee lowered for SAARC Victoria Memorial visitors

From March 1, instead of Rs 500, such tourists are paying only Rs 100 for the heritage tour

Kolkata: Authorities of the Victoria Memorial Hall have considerably reduced its entry fees for SAARC nationals to attract more visitors from these countries.

The entry fee, which was Rs 500 per person, has been slashed to Rs 100 with effect from March 1. People from countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Afganisthan and Pakistan will now have to dole out Rs 100 only for a visit to the Victoria Memorial.

The entry fee for home visitors, which is Rs 30, remains unchanged.

"We had two broad classifications when it came to the entry at the Victoria Memorial Hall — Indians and Foreigners. For Indians, the entry fee was Rs 30 and for foreigners it was Rs 500.

Our staff, who man the ticket counters brought it to our notice that people from SAARC countries particularly from Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan often complain about the high entry fees.

Many of them visit the Victoria Memorial Hall on more than one occasion for various purposes. We discussed the matter at our board of trustees and we decided to reduce the entry fees for the SAARC nationals. We also wrote to the Ministry of Culture for their approval and have got the permission to bring down the entry fee from Rs 500 to Rs 100," said the Victoria Memorial Hall curator and secretary, Jayanta Sengupta. The SAARC nationals will have to furnish their passport at the ticket counters to avail of the facilities.

Apart from normal visitors, scholars from SAARC countries also come to the Victoria Memorial for research activities on Bengal's rich history, art and culture and architecture.

Several specimens of Bengal's architecture are present in Victoria Memorial Hall's collection.

According to a senior official, out of 38 lakh visitors in a year, around 90,000 are foreigners and a majority of them are from SAARC countries.

However, the Victoria Memorial authorities have doubled its entry fees to the garden from Rs 10 to Rs 20. It may be mentioned here that out of 38 lakh annual visitors at the Victoria Memorial, 18 lakh avail of the tickets for the garden alone.

The authorities have also brought about a change in the timing of entry at the Victoria Memorial with effect from January 28 this year.

On weekends, the timings to visit the heritage structure are 10 am to 8 pm. In May last year, the Victoria Memorial had for the first time in 97 years, increased the timing of both the museum and the lawns by an hour from 5pm to 6pm on all days except Monday, when the museum is shut.

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