Mumbai, Jan 31 (PTI) The entry fees for viewing penguins in the civic zoo in Mumbai was Rs 100 while it was Rs 250 in Science City near Ahmedabad in neighbouring Gujarat, Mayor Kishori Pednekar said on Monday even as she mocked BJP leaders Ashish Shelar, Nitesh Rane and Atul Bhatkhalkar as “Gujarat penguins”.
Pednekar, deputy mayor Suhas Wadekar and some Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials had, on Saturday, visited Science City, which is home to five penguins that were brought from Johannesburg in South Africa last year.
Speaking to reporters at her official residence in Byculla here, the mayor said the penguin facility in Mumbai was better than the one in Gujarat, adding that some people with vested interests, however, continued to defame the metropolis on this issue.
Pednekar, who belongs to Shiv Sena, also claimed that of the six penguins brought to the Science City, she spotted only five but nobody answered her about the whereabouts of the sixth penguin.
“Since one of the penguins of the four pairs brought to Mumbai died, the Opposition has been targeting Maharashtra environment minister Aaditya Thackeray by calling him names. Why BJP leader Ashish Shelar, Atul Bhatkhalkar and Nitesh Rane shouldn’t be called ‘Gujarat penguins’?” she questioned.
Hailing Aaditya Thackeray, son of Maharashtra CM and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, for his work as a minister, Pednekar said, “from now on, we will call them (Shelar, Bhatkhalkar and Rane) Gujarat’s penguins”. In a comparative report prepared after the visit, the mayor claimed the entry fees at Veer Mata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan for a family of four was Rs 100, while it was free for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
However, the entry fee at Science City was Rs 50 and a further Rs 200 to see the Aquatic Gallery where the penguins are housed, she said.
Presently, Mumbai has nine penguins, while Ahmedabad has five.
As per officials, the BMC had spent Rs 17 crore to build a befitting enclosure for Humboldt penguins that were brought from South Korea in 2016.
Pednekar said Science City officials informed her the Aquatic Gallery was built there for Rs 257 crore, with penguins being kept in an enclosure where the temperature is maintained at 21-25 degrees Celsius.
While the Shiv Sena, which rules the BMC, and especially Aaditya Thackeray has spoken highly of the penguin facility in Mumbai and have often called it a gift for its citizens, the BJP has routinely claimed the expenditure incurred on the initiative was on the higher side. PTI KK BNM NSK NSK
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Source: The Print