Manipal Lake: No longer free for all
Popularly regarded as one of the best places to visit in Manipal, the Manipal Lake (Manna Palla) is a commonly visited scenic and quiet spot. However, due to a change in ownership, visitors are now charged a 10-rupee fee to enter the lake premises.
Krishna Recreation, a private company acquired the tender of the lake over a year ago and has now started collecting an entry fee at the lake. The 10-rupee fee, collected daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, is said to be used for maintenance work. Cleanliness, security and boating in the lake are managed by the company.
Fitness enthusiasts and casual joggers who utilise the 2.5 km jogging track early in the morning are not charged || Photograph Courtesy: Shreya D Bavar
“The government has asked us to collect 20 rupees but we are collecting only 10 because many students come here and 20 rupees is a big amount for them,” said Nagraj, who currently possesses the lake’s tender for five years. The ticket collector, standing at only one out of the many gates attempts to make sure that no one enters without a ticket by taking regular rounds on a bicycle.
While Nagraj affirms that ticket collection has not affected the number of visitors at the lake, a trusted anonymous source stated that some people turn away and leave when asked to pay the entry fee. “It is a place for students to relax and if you start charging for it, people will stop coming. It is a public property and should not be charged,” said Padma Venkatachalam, a 3rd-year student from Faculty of Architecture.
The company is supposed to pay 2.5 lakh rupees per annum to the government with a 10% increase each year. It takes more than 1 lakh rupees per month to maintain the 100 acres of land, including the 55 acres of the lake. Up until four months ago, when the ticket collection started, Nagraj claims to have suffered a big loss as he put in money for maintenance from his own pocket. Rather than gaining profit, he expects the fee to appease his financial strain, get back the money invested and break even.
The company also plans on bringing other changes to the lake, including the addition of new boats and ducks for the lake and opening a multi-cuisine restaurant behind the planetarium.
Edited by Sruti Srinivasan
Featured Image Courtesy: Shreya D Bavar