Agra, Dec 26 (IANS) Online booking of tickets to the Taj Mahal will begin from Saturday, according to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials.
Arrangements for barcode screening and broadband connection have been made at the entrance gates. An official announcement is likely to be made in New Delhi Friday.
A website for the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb has been launched by the ICRTC and ASI. Tourists can book tickets at ask.irctc.co.
Tourism industry in Agra has welcomed the introduction of e-ticketing facility, which many hoteliers said would curb reselling and black-marketting of tickets.
“Tourists waste a lot of time waiting at the ticket windows. Later, the ASI would be able to fix a daily number of visitors to reduce human load on the 17th-century monument of love,” said Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.
More than six million tourists visit Taj every year. Entry for children below 15 years is free. The monument has a weekly off day on Friday.
Meanwhile, tourism organisations in the city have opposed Agra Development Authority’s move to increase the toll collected from visitors at the Taj.
The ADA has sent a proposal to the state government to revise the rates from present Rs.750 to Rs.1000 for foreign tourists and from Rs.20 to Rs.50 for the Indians.
The ASI share is Rs.250 from the foreigners and Rs. 10 from the Indians.
The tourism industry leaders feel any upward revision of ticket rates would reduce the number of tourist arrivals which already is showing a negative trend.