Himachal Pradesh would adopt multi-pronged strategy to check the monkey menace in the state, as its causing damage to standing crops and frightening the people to alarming proportion.
Replying to a motion brought by Gulab Singh Thakur of BJP in the assembly yesterday, Industry Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, who was replying on behalf of Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, said that wild animal and monkey menace is causing loss to the crops of farmers to alarming proportions.
He said that Congress government is taking effective measures to deal with the menace as its adopting multi-pronged strategy to save the crops from wild animals.
Parliament affairs minister assured the house that it would expedite efforts to vacate high court stay to lift ban on killing of monkeys.
The government would also pursue that matter with union government to early convene the meeting of the nation board for lifting ban on export of monkeys.
He said 77,000 monkeys have been sterilized so far and the programme would be expanded. He said that the government would explore the idea of having a scheme for fencing of agriculture fields by farmers in subsidized form to prevent them from wild animals.
Leader of opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal also participated in the discussion and asked the government to put in efforts to get a meeting of national board and convince the centre for lifting the ban on export of monkeys.
He said the sterilization programme would certainly result after some years, but the forest department must ensure that after sterilization, the monkeys should be dropped back into the forest in the same groups for scientific handling.
Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS) Jagjeevan Pal termed monkeys as “terrorists” seeking to go for secret mass killing of monkeys in one go using state forces like police and paramilitary forces.
“The government should go for mass killing of these animals in one single day, escaping the media and NGO glare.” CPS indicating towards press gallery in the house commented that media persons also hail to peasantry class could not evade the menace.
He said that it was now a fight of existence of humans with monkeys and the government should deal with them sternly. He was participating in the debate on a motion moved by BJP member Gulab Singh Thakur for a concrete policy to check damage to the crops, vegetables and fruits by wild animals.
“There is religious angle to it, when we talk of killing monkeys. We must aware the people of Himachal Pradesh that these monkeys are not related to God Hanuman in any way. Hanuman Ji was very big, who could carry mountains. But these monkeys are not the ones like him,” Jagjivan Pal said.
He said as per the figures with the forest department, there has been a drop in the population of monkeys by 90,000 since the last census in 2004. The number of monkeys in Himachal Pradesh is now 2.26 lakh, but there is no let up in the menace and it needs to be addressed urgently.
The CPS said that the issue of wild animals damaging the crops and vegetables is a man made problem. “But we have to seek solution to it now,” he said.
He asked the government to put in efforts to get the stay on ban imposed on monkey killing by the high court in Himachal Pradesh on priority. “It was due to media that the issue of monkey killing got highlighted in Himachal and some NGOs took up the issue in court,” he said.
Himachal Lok Hit party member Maheshwar Singh demanded lifting the restriction on issuing of free licenses and supply of ammunition’s to people as wild animals and monkeys are killing people and threatening the safety of human beings.
Virender Kanwar of BJP also demanded listing of blue bull (Neel Gai) in the vermin list as it was causing road accidents besides causing damage to the crops in the fields.
In all, ten members from BJP and Congress participated in the discussion and expressed concern over the problem, including Virender Kanwar, Rohit Thakur, Anirudh Singh, Vijay Agnihotri and Vikram Jarial.