The Delhi high court has told the Sheila Dikshit government and the now-trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi that it was high time they buried the hatchet on the issue of catching stray monkeys and work in close co-ordination to end the menace.
The tussle between the authorities on who should shoulder the responsibility of ridding the city of the simians has been raging on ever since the court had in March 2008 on a petition by the New Friends Colony residents' welfare association ordered immediate steps to catch the monkeys and release them into the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in the city.
The MCD maintained that it was the responsibility of the wildlife department of the Delhi government to catch the monkeys as it was a wildlife issue. They also cited a shortage of monkey catchers. But the Delhi government said it was the job of the civic agency entrusted by the court.
"Instead of always fighting with each other on each hearing, they should be asked to jointly fight the monkeys," the RWA's lawyer Meera Bhatia urged a bench headed by acting Chief Justice AK Sikri.
Faced with an acute lack of catchers, the Delhi government has sought the help of states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh to find people with skills to catch stray simians.
"You both co-ordinate with each other after sorting out the difference and deal with the problem," the court asked the Delhi government and the MCD and posted the matter for further hearing on October 3.
A six-member committee appointed by the court to oversee the rounding up of the monkeys has said 14,787 of them have been captured in the past four years from various parts of the city. The panel claimed its members had visited the Bhatti Mines periodically to see if the monkeys had adapted to the place.