A controversy erupted when walkers visiting the adjacent garden complained that they were told to pay Rs 10 as an entry fee, days after the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) inaugurated the sculpture park in Harni, with about 30 installations made from scrap metal.
Mayor Nilesh Rathod announced on Tuesday that visitors taking a walk in the garden will be exempted, despite the opposition of the BJP-run VMC demanding an immediate cancellation of the fee. Monday night visitors to the Harni Garden-cum-Sculpture Park were in for an unpleasant surprise when they saw a guard posted at the gate and demanding a Rs 10 entry fee.
While regular visitors engaged in an argument with the guard, Ami Ravat, Opposition leader, of VMC, also sent a letter to the Municipal Commissioner on Tuesday stating the fees “should not be charged” for entry into the gardens.
In her letter, Ravat said, “When the iconic Sayajibaug garden has free entry for all, how can the Harni garden demand Rs 10 as entry fee even from daily morning and evening walkers? This imposition of fee in the name of a hurriedly inaugurated Sculpture Park should be reversed immediately.”
Officials of the VMC said a Rs 10 entry fee for the Harni Sculpture Park was proposed and approved in the 2017 draft budget of the civic body. However, no fees were collected so far as the park was under renovation.
Facing much flak throughout the day, Vadodara Mayor Nilesh Rathod on Tuesday evening issued a statement stating the civic body would soon issue formal directions for withdrawal.