If simians in your neighbourhood are making it impossible to keep windows and doors open for even a minute, blame it on the lack of monkey catchers in the city. The three municipal corporations have said monkey catching has become difficult with very few catchers coming forward to meet the growing number of complaints.
Such is the dearth of monkey catchers that even after months of being on the lookout, the East Municipal Corporation only recently managed to hire a single contractor for catching monkeys.
In the past three-four weeks, the contractor has caught 10-odd monkeys and sent them to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary as dictated by the court. The South and North Corporation share three monkey catchers between them.
Monkey catchers get only Rs. 600 per animal and that is a major put-off.
Sanjay, the lead monkey catcher in North and South Delhi, said that very few people were joining the profession as the chances of getting hurt was very high. Sanjay, who claims to have been trained by an 'ustaad' in Faridabad, has been in the profession for the last 10 years. The number of apprentices has declined, he says. "I only have two students now who help me catch monkeys," he said.
A senior official of the East Corporation said that they place advertisements in newspapers for monkey catchers but the response is dismal. "In cities, the number of people with the skill to catch monkeys has gone down. Those who do know how to catch monkeys, remain unaware of the advertisements. We usually end up hiring by word of mouth," he said.
Monkey catchers have to work with very few facilities. At present, they only have one or two big cages in which they lure monkeys using fruits and rotis.
In the absence of enough monkey catchers, residents have to bear the brunt. "We have been reporting monkey bites frequently, but the corporations are not able to catch them despite repeated attempts," says Anil Grover, president of C Block Mayur Vihar II RWA. The three corporations have asked the wildlife department for 56 new large cages and 120 small ones.