Entry to Lalbagh Botanical Gardens is free up to 8.30am, and cameras are not charged.
The entry ticket business has been outsourced to some private organization.
Yesterday (13 September 2015), we noticed people from this organization chasing visitors at about 9.30am and asking them to pay for their cameras. Some groups, visiting for special purposes, have special permission; eg, the Bird Watchers Field Club, which has a bird walk in Lalbagh on the 2nd Sunday of every month, has permission for the group until 10.30am.
I cannot understand why officials should chase visitors after 9am and start charging for cameras, being very rude when visitors (quite justifiably) refuse to pay. Surely visitors who come in before the deadline should be left alone. At the entry point, after 8.30am, officials can charge visitors for entry and for cameras. Why go after people in a random way and on a retrospective basis? This creates a lot of bad feeling.
When almost every person entering Lalbagh has a camera in his or her mobile phone now (some of which are as sophisticated as DSLR’s), the camera charges themselves do not make any sense to me. I feel it is nothing but a racket to extort more money from the public.
But to chase visitors down and demand camera charges from them goes, in my opinion, beyond what is ethical. I hope the Horticultural Department takes cognizance of this harassment and puts a stop to it at once.