By: Mohit Behl
Dharamsala: Despite all the measures adopted by the present and previous governments of Himachal, nothing has been able to stop the monkeys from increasing their numbers in the state. The recent protest by farmers from across the state in front of the Vidhan Sabha is an evidence of how serious the problem is, but it is amazing that the government claims it has successfully implemented sterlisation programme in Shimla & surrounding areas and thus the issue is over.
We all know that monkeys pose threat in both rural as well as urban areas but till now no concrete solution has come up which could help solve or minimize the menace. The situation in district Kangra is similar as in other parts of the state. One can see huge groups of monkeys along the national and state highways here, where their presence is solely because of the tourists who feed them for fun sake or for religious reasons. The government of curse had banned feeding monkeys, but who cares!
Tourist halts on highways are becoming monkey sanctuaries as they are being regularly fed by
humans. This is clearly visible on the Hoshirapur-Chintpurni highway where now-a-days there are armies of monkeys feeding on human bounty. Besides tourists, ‘roadside breadwalas’ are the major contributors in increasing the menace as, seeing an opportunity to earn some money, they have placed themselves at all vantage points to sell eatable to the tourists to be offered to monkeys. True, everyone has the right to earn a livelihood, but certainly not from an activity which is illegal in the eyes of the law.
While government policemen seem hardly interested in keeping a vigil on such violators, it would be a good idea to employ the same ‘breadwalas’ for community policing, to be engaged in shooing away monkeys from roadsides and maybe also from nearby farms. A Left-wing party has already suggested to include keeping a watch on wild animals under NREGA, so these ‘breadwalas’ can be gainfully employed.
Further up in crowded towns like Kangra, Dharamsala and Palampur, especially religious places, the trader community will have to themselves volunteer to develop community policing models, employing watchmen to keep a vigil on monkeys. Or the only other way left is to give up, and worship the monkey Hanumana to be kind enough to us humans, as is done in Jodhpur.