Byculla- A fresh set of civic guidelines now stipulate that only children will get to see the imported Humboldt penguins at the Byculla zoo for the next two months. While the children will get to view the penguins free, adults accompanying them may have to cool their heels outside the entrance to the penguins' special enclosure.
The decision comes on the heels of a stay on the civic administration's proposal to hike the zoo entrance charges to Rs 100. A committee, headed by the city mayor, sent back the proposal for a two month indepth study, citing poor reasons for the proposed hike. Zoo entrance charges will thus remain unchanged for the time being, but the penguins, which have been making news for the last few months, will be exhibited only for children. This was announced at a joint press conference addressed by mayor Snehal Ambekar and standing committee president Yashodhar Phanse. The Byculla zoo charges rank among the lowest in other national zoos, but the revised fares will not be allowed to be exorbitant either, Ambekar and Phanse said.
"BMC commission Ajoy Mehta has promised that the work on the penguins' enclosure will be completed in 20 days. We have suggested to the administration that the enclosure be inaugurated by meritorious students from municipal schools," Ambekar and Phanse said in a joint statement.
The penguins have been making news ever since they were brought to the city last year, and one of them, Rory, succumbed to illness. The event sparked a political debate over whether such exotic animals needed to be brought in to the city. The civic body has been trying to increase the zoo entrance charges from Rs 10 to Rs 100, as tabled in the latest proposal, for the last few years. So far, the proposals have not met with success. For at least the next two months, Mumbai kids can feast their eyes on the penguins.