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Trapped monkeys deliberately released in BJP MLA constituencies: BJP alleges in Assembly

As per latest census in 2015, the number of monkeys in the state was 2,07,614, while it was 2,26,086 in 2013.So far, 52,415 monkeys had been sterilised in the state

SHIMLA- Tempers ran high in Himachal Pradesh Assembly today as ruling Congress and opposition BJP members sparred over the release of monkeys after sterilisation.

BJP members alleged that there was a deliberate attempt to release monkeys, after sterilisation, in the constituencies of opposition MLAs.

The issue was raised during Question Hour by BJP leader Mohinder Singh, who alleged that the government had failed to ensure that the monkeys trapped for sterilisation are released in the same area in a scientific manner. He claimed the animals were being released in the constituencies of BJP MLAs.

Refuting the charge, Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri said the Congress government did not believe in such “cheap” politics and added that during the rule of the previous BJP government, the monkeys were lifted and released in the lower hills of the state.

As arguments started turning acrimonious, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh intervened and said that a private party had been engaged to catch and release the monkeys and there could be some chance of error which should be checked.

He said the right approach was that the monkeys should be caught and dropped back scientifically so that their group behaviour was not disturbed.

Earlier, replying to the main question, the minister said the monkey census had been conducted twice till 2016 and there was a decline in the count of primates in the state.

He said as per the latest census in 2015, the number of monkeys in the state was 2,07,614, while it was 2,26,086 in 2013.

So far, 52,415 monkeys had been sterilised in the state and as a consequence, their population had come down.

The minister said the census of the blue bull (Nilgai) and pigs has not been conducted in the state so far.

He said the wild animals have damaged agricultural and horticultural crops worth Rs 184.28 crore in 2013-14 and the damage was to the tune of Rs 150. 10 crore between 2006-07 and 2010-11.

He said eight sterilisation centres were functional in the state and also gave details of the places from where the monkeys were caught and released after sterilisation.

He said the High Court had declined to allow killing of monkeys and the matter would be taken up again with the court.

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