MC Shimla proposes park in Tutikandi to deal with monkey menace
After years of failure to get rid of monkey menace, Shimla Municipal administration now plans a park for monkeys in Tutikandi forest
Shimla-To deal with the menace that the monkey gangs have been creating in Shimla, Municipal Corporation has proposed a new park in Shimla, in the woods of Tutikandi, where, one hectare of area would be sealed with barb wire fences and two forest guards would be employed to make sure monkeys don’t escape. The plan proposes providing water resources, growing radish, carrot, beans etc to ensure sufficiency of food and water in the park.
That’s so nice of MC Shimla. Everyone is aware of the efficiency with which the department successfully implement its reformatory plans, especially, when it comes to tackling monkey menace and growing stray dog population.
By the way, MC had built a dog shelter near Kachi Ghati to tackle the issue of stray dogs in Shimla, which is not being used in anyway. That suggests that the shelter is closed for reason unknown. The dogs are all on the Shimla Mall, and on a sunny day, most of them enjoy sunbath in front of MC’s office.
Picture of Abandoned dog shelter in Shimla
THE SAD TRUTH BEHIND THE STRAY DOG SHELTER IN SHIMLA (Published on Mar 8, 2012)
Published on Mar 14, 2013 (After one year)
As far as the monkeys are concerned, they have become more like unavoidable bullies in Shimla town, who could rob anyone, anywhere and most of the time, women and kids are preferred for they are easy targets. A year ago, the situation became so sensitive that people were forced to protest against the department’s inability to ensure safety against the monkey menace.
In 2011, a Senior citizen Devki Nandan Kaushik wrote to the chief justice on the menace of monkeys, langurs and dogs and the problems being faced by the residents of Shimla. After which, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rajiv Sharma directed the municipal commissioner of Shimla and the divisional forest officer (Wildlife) to file affidavits as to what steps have taken by them check the problem.
However, nothing appealed to Municipal administration of Shimla until present date.
The main cause of failure of these two departments, Wildlife wing of Forest department and MC, to handle the issue is due to outdated methods, impractical strategies, and the lousy attitude e.g. farmers from district Bilaspur complained that there were no monkeys in their area until many were captured from troubled urban areas and released in their villages, and they started destroying the crops. No attention was paid to the fact that the growing population also required attention, and because of that, the population of monkeys went over six lacks during 2012.
In 2010, the situation became uglier when Himachal government allowed farmers to kill monkeys with other wild animals, which caused harm to crops. It was only after a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) in 2011 that the Himachal High Court directed the State Government to stop issuing such permits to the farmers and observed the following: “The state should have to protect all the beings… by giving permission to kill the problematic monkeys, the state has not understood and applied its mind to understand the basic intent of the Wildlife Protection Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act”
In 2012, the Forest Department had put a target of sterilizing two lack monkeys along with opening 21 sterilizing centers in Himachal by June 30 2012, which required 35-40 crores as expenditure. Hardly, one fourth of the target was achieved, and, of course, it would be idiotic to ask a question as stupid as asking about promised 21 new centers.
Wild Life Wing of Forest Department had even adopted unethical method of capturing monkeys. Public was invited to capture and handover monkeys to the department for which an incentive of Rs. 500 were being paid for each monkey captured. It’s a well established fact that the animal handling is a specialized task, for which people with adequate training are required. How could the department expect any common man to do the job. Nobody knows what method, unscientific or unethical, they would use to capture monkeys.
Previous BJP government spent near about Rs.1.5 crore on seterlization, but did not get any success in curbing the issue.
In 2013, the Congress government assured relief to the farmers, who were facing a large-scale destruction of their crops due to monkeys. For the assurance government claimed that a Rs. 100 crore monkey menace control project plan was drafted and was sent to the Central government for its approval.
However, nothing actually has been done to curb the issue. The issue of human- animal conflict in cities had began many years back, many plans and assurances were made, but the issue has rather taken a form worse than it was 5 years ago.
This time, MC Shimla’s plan for a monkey park is the latest assurance to the citizens and the tourists in Shimla. However, it is obvious that Tutikandi forests are very near to the main town, and it would need fences higher than the trees to keep the monkeys from hopping into residential areas. Further, in number, one hectare is not going to accommodate much. Let’s see, how much the plan appeals to the government.