An RTI activist has urged the Maharashtra government to reduce the Taraporewala Aquarium’s entry fees, while saying that it has earned over Rs. 4.50 crore in the first seven months of its operations after it was reopened following renovation.
Taraporewala Aquarium, located at Marine Drive in Mumbai, is the country’s oldest aquarium and one of the city’s main attractions as it hosts marine and freshwater fishes. It was re-opened after renovation on March 3 this year.
Mumbai-based RTI activist Mansoor Darvesh had filed a query with the Fisheries department seeking to know the total amount spent by it on the Aquarium’s renovation, along with the monthly income from selling tickets and the profit earned in the first seven months of its functioning.
In response, he was informed that since March 2013, when the Aquarium was closed for renovation, about Rs 21.50 crore were spent for the purpose by agencies, including the Fisheries and Public Works (Electric and Civil) Departments.
Besides, a total revenue of Rs. 4,55,71,360 was collected from the visitors from March to September 2015, as per the reply to the RTI query.
Since its reopening, the Aquarium’s entry fees has been doubled to Rs 60 for adults and Rs 30 for children and students. There are additional charges for carrying still and video cameras.
The RTI response also stated that from March 3, total 8,50,239 people visited the Aquarium in seven months, including 6,13,506 adult visitors and 2,36,733 children.
“This is not a profit-making company that the government is running. People from all over the city stand in queues to visit this Aquarium. The government can definitely afford to spend more years in recovering the money it spent,” Darvesh said.
“The government should seriously consider decreasing the entry fees of the Aquarium so that people, even from the lower strata of society, are able to visit it and learn new things,” he said.
“I have myself seen parents standing outside the Aquarium and sending their children inside only because they cannot afford to spend on their entry fees,” he added.