Only e-tickets for Taj? ASI mulls move to 'curb queues'

Only e-tickets for Taj? ASI mulls move to 'curb queues'

ASI temporarily closed all its ticket counters in 2020 and 2021 following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a bid to get rid of long queues, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is planning to shut down ticket windows at the iconic Taj Mahal, leaving only an online booking option for visitors.

Booking will be done on the official website of the monument. A proposal in this regard has been sent by the ASI Agra circle to its headquarters in Delhi.

Superintending archaeologist, Rajkumar Patel, said, "The window ticketing facility results in crowding outside the protected property. We are thus planning to close ticket windows for visitors' convenience. They will be able to book tickets online in a hassle-free manner." Another ASI official said: "Besides streamlining the crowd movement, closing counters will also save manpower and reduce the cost of maintaining the facility. It will promote digital transactions too."

ASI temporarily closed all its ticket counters in 2020 and 2021 following the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the offline facility was restarted after many resellers and conmen started duping tourists on the spot.

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Raising concern, Monika Sharma, a senior tour guide at the Taj Mahal, said, "Everyone does not use a smartphone. Authorities should keep in mind that many people from rural areas and the elderly might not be able to book tickets online."

She added, "Technical glitches have also surfaced in the online ticketing system. Sometimes money gets deducted and an online ticket is not issued. Besides, there is no provision for a refund on the cancellation of tickets booked online. People are not sure about the day and time of their visit, which is why they prefer buying tickets physically."

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