Citing severe shortage of funds to take up developmental works atop the hill, the Chamundi Hill Gram Panchayat has reportedly urged Chief Minster Siddharamaiah to allow it to reintroduce the entry fee for vehicles to the hilltop.

It is reported that GP President Kamalamma, who met Siddharamaiah in Bangalore on June 24, urged him to allow the GP authorities to reintroduce the fee collection as the GP was running short of funds.

Though Siddharamaiah is said not to have reacted on the issue, citizens and tourists, who regularly visit the temple atop the hill to have darshan of Goddess Chamundeshwari, are now a worried lot as they may soon see the re-emergence of collection mafia which was rampant when the policy was in force.

It is reported that on March 31, 2010, the GP had approved a tender of Rs. 47,04,100 for collection of entry fee from visitors and a sum of Rs. 25 lakh had been paid to the GP by the contractor by way of deposit.

There were complaints that the staff of the contractors were cheating the visitors by collecting exorbitant fees from visitors besides collecting fee for viewing Nandi Statue and View-Point midway which presented a picturesque view of the city by erecting barricades and forcibly collecting fee.

The toll gate, which was earlier near the temple, was shifted to the junction at the public view point of the city and Palace to collect fee from those who come here just to see the over-view of city at night.

It may be recalled that based on some complaints, former Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan, on June 1, 2010 had ordered withdrawal of the collection of entry fee before his transfer and a proposal by the GP on reintroduction of the policy submitted to the Government on Oct.1, 2010 is still pending.

Some citizens are of the view that the Government which claims to be committed to promote tourism in Mysore should allot funds for developmental works atop the hill and save tourists from extortion by entry fee collection mafia.

GP President reacts

Meanwhile, Chamundi Hill GP President Kamalamma, speaking to Star of Mysore, has clarified that the proposal of revival of collection of entry fee from vehicles has been submitted to the government owing to severe shortage of funds for undertaking works of repair of roads, providing drinking water, toilets and other facilities to the visitors.

She further clarified that the revenue collected from various sources was not even sufficient to pay wages to the staff and hence the GP has sought the revival of entry fee to boost its economy.

Manivannan abolishes entry fee

The credit for abolishing the collection of entry fee for vehicles to the hilltop goes to former Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan, who ordered withdrawal of the policy on June 1 , 2010, in a display of concern for tourists and devotees.

Added to this, he had also arranged for payment of balance amount, from the deposit of Rs. 25 lakh, to the contractor from the Chamundi Hills Temple Trust as the contractor had collected only Rs.7 lakh till the day of withdrawal of the policy.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore