Visakhapatnam: The VUDA Central Park opened recently near the APSRTC Complex was a matter for cheer to the city’s denizens, but the hefty entry fee has disappointed many and is preventing the public from visiting the park in large numbers. By design or default, it is made accessible in the evening hours only for the city’s rich and the mighty.
The park spread over 20 acres was developed with an input of Rs 35 crore of public money and it boasts of amenities like a 1.5 km peripheral walking track, a sand track for jogging, an inner walking track, a cycle track and a yoga hall, besides an enchanting musical fountain.
Though the entry fee is Rs 20 during day time, it gets costlier in the evening, when one has to pay Rs 60 for each entry from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm. A family will, thus, have to shell out a big sum, which only the rich can afford. “This is being mischievous,” a resident in the area commented.
If less people visit the park, the revenue will be less and the park would eventually suffer from lack of maintenance. The staff at the park said the musical fountain shows are run in the evening, and the entry fee includes a charge for this show as well. This is reducing the people’s enthusiasm levels at the very start of the project display itself.
“We go there for walking and for relaxation, not necessarily to sit and watch the musical fountain show. How can we spend as much money every day,” asked M. Bhaskar, a resident of Dwaraka Nagar. Those residing around the busy RTC complex are disappointed as they were expecting that the park would be a good place for daily relaxation and amusement.
Former IES officer and Praja Spandana president 91-year-old C.S. Rao who had fought for legal intervention to save the greenery of the park area, which was earlier Central Jail, objected to the privatisation of the park and the hefty entry fee. He urged Vuda to instead make the park accessible to all.
“The park fee should be only Rs 5 or Rs 10, so that people don’t have to think twice before heading for the park. The very purpose of the park is to provide people a chance to spend quality time, and enjoy the pure air amidst the green cover. It should not be made a commercial venture,” he said.