Tribune News Service
Shimla, August 26
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today announced the setting up of a state-level committee headed by him with the Leader of Opposition and experts as its other members to explore ways and means to check the growing monkey menace in the state.
The Chief Minister also announced in the Assembly that a pilot project where monkeys will be fed oral contraception along with food to keep their numbers under check would be started in the state capital. The issue had been raised under Rule 130 by Mahender Singh and Rikhi Ram Koundal, both of the BJP in the Assembly today
“We will set up a committee which will include Leader of Opposition, MLAs, experts and myself so that all possible options to check the growing number of monkeys can be explored,” he announced while replying to the debate. He admitted that the farmers and fruit growers were giving up cultivation as monkeys were completely damaging the crop.
“All political parties must come together to find a solution to monkey menace. Killing monkeys is not the solution and scientific culling can be undertaken only after obtaining permission of the courts, that too when they pose a threat to human life,” he remarked.
He said the problem of stray cattle and wild animals was assuming alarming proportions. The Chief Minister also suggested that more ‘gau sadans’ should be opened to tackle the problem of stray cattle in the state as the number of such abandoned animals was very high.
Leader of Opposition PK Dhumal said export of monkeys was the best solution as sterilization had failed. He also suggested that there should be strict implementation of the ban on feeding monkeys. “What prevents the government from declaring them as vermin. Moreover, efforts should be expedited to get the ban on their culling lifted from courts,” he suggested.
Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri said 96,709 monkeys had been sterilized so far. He admitted that the efforts to scare monkeys with rubber bullets and ultrasonic machines had not proved to be very successful. “A total of 1,145 endemic sites have been identified where monkeys are causing maximum damage to crops and fruits in the state,” he said.
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