M A I N   N E W S

Monkey rule in Udhampur village
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chirai (Udhampur), January 8
With lanes deserted, this obscure village in the foothills of the Pir Panchal range presents a curfew-like situation even at mid-noon as the residents not step out of their houses because of the fear of monkeys.

The burgeoning population of monkeys has forced several residents of the village to flee to “safer” places like Udhampur and Jammu.

The position is equally bad in the neighbouring villages of Dhani, Kambal-Danga and Balnagar, but no one has yet migrated from there.

Residents of Chirai say that the monkeys who virtually rule there have thrown life in the village out of gear. Women and children are frightened to venture out of their houses. Many incidents of monkey bite have occurred in the past few months.

A schoolboy was saved from monkeys, who injured him badly by taking out flesh from his cheek.

Ravi Abrol, a panchayat member, told this correspondent that the population of the village had considerably come down with almost 65 of the 100 households migrating from there because of the monkey menace.

On the other hand, the population of monkeys was growing day by day. Their strength has increased to more than 1,500 against the human population of just about 350.

Mr Abrol said panchayat members approached wildlife officials some time ago, but they expressed inability to do anything in the matter.

He said it had become difficult for the villagers to sleep even during night as monkeys kept jumping on the tin roofs.

A stick has become an essential part of life for the men when they come out of the house. Otherwise monkeys attack them and snatch eatables they carry.

Mr Mool Raj another resident of the village, said they had to bolt doors of houses from inside even in day time to save belongings from monkeys, who open the fridge and take away eatables.

The farmers in the adjoining area of about 5 square km have stopped cultivating their land or growing vegetable as the monkeys destroy the fields. Mr Mool Raj said till the past few years they were self-sufficient in grains and vegetables, but now they had to buy these from market.

Mr Ravi Kumar, a shopkeeper, said he had to keep the door of his shop closed even in the daytime because of fear. Monkeys snatch the merchandise from the hands of people.

He said only those such people were now left in the village who were financially unsound and not in a position to buy land outside. There were no buyers of property in the village and most of the abandoned houses had decayed.

Mr Ashwani Kumar, a chemist, said his relatives in other villages had stopped coming to meet them because of the fear of monkeys.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |