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Dollars no thanks

BOMBAY – You know when the US dollar is in trouble when India refuses to accept it.

Latest to ditch the greenback is the Taj Mahal, India’s most famous monument.

Indian authorities have calculated they are losing money by allowing foreign tourists to pay using US dollars. So it’s goodbye to the greenback.

A statement by India’s Ministry for Tourism and Culture said the government had decided to act “in view of the international practices and also to avoid any anomaly on account of falling exchange rates of the US dollar vis-a-vis the rupee and the consequent fall in revenues”.

Until the change, foreign tourists visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra could enter by paying a fixed US$5 fee – a price that was set when the dollar was worth around R50.

But with the dollar having fallen by 12 percent this year against the rupee and the current exchange rate closer to R39 to the dollar, the government has now fixed the entry price for foreigners at R250 – more than $6.

The ruling will affect around 120 sites overseen by the Archaeological Society of India, of which 27 – including the Taj Mahal – are World Heritage sites.

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