BHUBANESWAR: Entry fee of ticketed monuments in Odisha has been hiked by three times. There are five ticketed monuments in the State including a World Heritage Monument - Sun temple at Konark. The others are Khandagiri caves, Rajarani temple and the Buddhist sites of Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri.
A decision in this regard has been taken by the Culture Ministry and as per a notification of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday, the entry fee of Sun Temple has been increased from the existing `10 per head to `30 for Indian nationals and tourists from SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar) countries.
For tourists from other countries, the entry price has been increased to `750 from the previous `250. Similarly, entry ticket of four other monuments will cost `15 from the earlier ` five for Indian nationals and tourists from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries. For visitors from other countries, the price would be `300.
Sources in Bhubaneswar unit of ASI said the notification regarding price rise was received on Thursday and a decision regarding the date on which the price hike will come into effect would be taken later this week. Senior officer of ASI Purvi Shah said the Superintending Engineer of ASI-Bhubaneswar is in Kolkata and the date of implementation of the new price chart will be decided after he returns.
The money generated from the hiked entry fee will be used for development and maintenance of monuments. Of the five monuments in the State, Sun Temple continues to be the highest revenue earner followed by Khandagiri. During the peak tourism season (December to February), it generates a revenue of around `2.5 lakh and annually, the figure is over ` two crore. At least 8,000 visitors visit the monument during winter months and the number comes down to 2,000 in other seasons. Khandagiri, on the other hand, earns around `70 lakh annually.
Meanwhile, the ASI is yet to begin work on converting the Sun Temple into a ‘model heritage monument’ under Adarsh Smarak scheme. Although the Culture Ministry had decided to spend `20 lakh under the scheme last year to provide drinking water, Wi-fi facility, cafeteria and other tourist amenities at the World Heritage Monument, the money has not been sanctioned yet.