The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has mooted a hike in the entry fee at popular tourist sites and discounts on cashless modes of payment, as per a proposed amendment to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules, 1959.
According to the draft, a copy of which is with PTI, Indians, those from the other SAARC countries and BIMSTEC countries will now have to pay Rs 40 per head (Rs 30 currently) to visit the UNESCO World Heritage properties or category 'A' monuments -- the Taj group of monuments at Agra, the Agra Fort, the Fatehpur Sikri monuments at Fatehpur Sikri, the Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar in Delhi.
Those opting to pay by card or any other cashless mode of transaction will get a discount of Rs five.
For the Red Fort in Delhi, the revised entry fee would be Rs 50 per head (Rs 30 currently) for Indians, those from the other SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) countries and BIMSTEC countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) and Rs 35 for cashless payments.
Those from the other countries would have to pay Rs 600 per head (Rs 500 currently) to enter these monuments, the draft said, adding that in case of digital transactions, the amount would be reduced by Rs 50.
For the category 'B' monuments, an entry fee of Rs 25 (Rs 20 for cashless transactions) has been proposed in the draft for Indians, those from the other SAARC countries and BIMSTEC countries.
These monuments include the Akbar's Tomb at Sikandra, the Itimad-ul-Daula's Tomb at Rambagh, the group of monuments at Mehtab Bagh in Agra, Delhi's Jantar Mantar, Khan-i-Khana, Purana Qila, Tughlaqabad Fort, Ferozshah Kotla and Safdarjung's Tomb.
Others would have to pay an entry fee of Rs 300.
Presently, Indians, citizens of the other SAARC countries and BIMSTEC countries have to pay an entry fee of Rs 15 and other nationals are charged Rs 250 per head.
The draft has also proposed a fee hike for additional facilities -- Rs 850 (Rs 800 for cashless transactions) for category 'A' and Rs 400 (Rs 350 for cashless transactions) for category 'B' monuments.
The Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was tabled in the Lok Sabha on July 18, 2017 by the Ministry of Culture and was passed by the House on January 2, 2018. It is yet to be tabled in the Upper House.
The ASI has invited suggestions and objections to the rules which have to be conveyed to its director general by February 5.
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