Morning Walkers in Patna up in Arms against New Restrictions

Morning walkers protesting outside Patna Zoo on Saturday.

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Patna: Morning stroll enthusiasts on Saturday created ruckus at the Patna Zoo after they found out that they could not freely move inside the sprawling park due to several barricading placed at many locations purportedly to protect zoo animals from being disturbed by the morning walkers.

Incensed by the limitations imposed on them by the zoo administration, dozens of men and women demanded removal of the barricades so they could move freely as they used to do before.

"First we used to come here for morning walk for free. Then the government started to charge us fee for something that should be free in the first place. Now that we have bought monthly passes to avail the facility, we are being told that we will be allowed to roam only within certain area between Gate 1 and Gate 2. Going towards lake or other areas has been banned," said an angry woman.

Zoo Director Nand Kishore said that the restriction was imposed to protect the animals from morning walkers who make noise and disturb the animals taking a toll on their health.

Not convinced by the explanation, the protestors chanted anti-Nitish slogans saying he had put tax on everything since he imposed prohibition in the state to make up for the lost revenue.

"It is just a matter of time before we will be forced to pay tax on breathing," an angry old man, who had been coming to the park each morning for the last 30 years, said.

The Director said action would be taken against those who were breaking the law.

"We are trying to identify those who created trouble today. If found guilty, they could be jailed or fined up to Rs. 2,000 or both," said Kishore.

On Saturday, over 500 applications were received to get zoo pass for morning walk. So far, more than 2,000 people have applied for the same pass, the Director said adding the fee ranges between Rs. 250 per month to Rs. 1100 for an annual pass.

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