|The Rabindra Bhavan museum
Santiniketan, Sept. 2: Visva-Bharati has introduced a Rs 100 ticket for foreigners who wish to visit the Uttaryan complex and the two museums on the campus and has also doubled the entry fee for Indians to Rs 20 to augment revenue at a time maintenance costs have increased manifold.
So far, the entry fee was Rs 10 for all.
Varsity officials said the decision was prompted by increasing costs of maintenance such as rising electricity bills for the central air-conditioning system in the two museums and deployment of additional security guards.
“We have introduced a ticket for foreigners this month. We have also increased the entry fee for other visitors to meet the rise in our expenditure,” said Tapati Mukhopadhayay, the director of Rabindra Bhavan, the varsity’s main museum.
Asked how foreigners would be identified before they are charged, a Rabindra Bhavan official said: “We know it will be difficult. We will have to go by appearance. If we feel a visitor could be a foreigner, we can ask for the nationality.”
According to sources, Visva-Bharati collects a substantial amount of revenue from visitors to the Uttaryan complex and the two museums. In the past eight months, the varsity earned nearly Rs 3 lakh by selling tickets, the price of which was doubled to Rs 10 about one-and-a-half years ago.
“Rabindra Bhavan was made centrally air-conditioned around 18 months ago, We have also installed CCTV cameras in the entire building. The cost of electricity has also increased and with it, the bills,” a Rabindra Bhavan official said.
The varsity has also opened to visitors Guha Ghar, the new museum housing the memorabilia of Rabindranath Tagore’s son Rathindranath. Officials said maintenance cost escalated after additional guards were deployed at the new museum and CCTV cameras were installed.
“Till now, no one had come up with the idea that the varsity’s funds could be increased by selling tickets. After the authorities realised that the hike could increase earnings, the decision of introducing the Rs 100 ticket and doubling the price of the general ticket was taken,” an official said.
Asked about the decision, varsity spokesperson Amrit Sen told The Telegraph: “We hope the visitors will appreciate the move. They will understand that our expenditure have increased.”
Visitors appeared not to mind much about having to pay Rs 20 for a visit to the museums and the Uttaryan complex that houses five of Tagore’s homes.
“Paying Rs 20 is not much for a ticket to visit a museum like Rabindra Bhavan. There is no reason for any grievance,” said Tapan Chakraborty who came from Singur today.