Lalbagh to provide free passes to long-time walkers

Lalbagh authorities to introduce free passes for long-time walkers, joggers

'An exception has been made to a few people who have been walking or jogging in the park for more than 10 or 20 years during mornings and evenings'

Lalbagh is open from 8.30 am to 7 pm during which visitors pay the Rs 30 entry fee. Some regular walkers and joggers are exempted from the fee from 6 am to 9 am and between 4 pm and 7 pm. Credit: DH File Photo

Putting an end to confusion over free entry to walkers and joggers, Lalbagh authorities are planning to hold a meeting of the regular users to introduce a pass system.

The city's famous lung space is open from 8.30 am to 7 pm during which visitors pay the Rs 30 entry fee.

However, some regular walkers and joggers at Lalbagh are exempted from the fee from 6 am to 9 am and between 4 pm and 7 pm.

The practice has resulted in officials facing various allegations from both payers and free users.

"Most of the free-entry regulars are coming to the garden for decades,” pointed out an official.

Read | Lalbagh's history through the ages

“A few years ago, efforts were made to introduce a monthly pass system for them. We faced huge opposition and many brought pressure from the top brass, while others alleged discrimination.”

The practice also led some to believe there is a free window for all.

Ram Kumar B K, an activist and a frequent visitor, said tickets were issued even during the free hours.

“The security guards and the ticket issuers have coordination,” he said. “The security guards target random visitors post 6 pm, redirect them to the ticket counter and negotiation takes place.”

'No free entry time' 

Kusuma G, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department, denied there was a free entry time.

"The ticket counter opens at 8.30 am. An exception has been made to a few people who have been walking or jogging in the park for more than 10 or 20 years during mornings and evenings," she said.

Kusuma said she was aware of the confusion the system has created.

"Most of the walkers and joggers are senior citizens who have played a role in the protection and conservation of the park. We are planning to meet them and explain the situation to come up with a free pass system," she said.