Unsuccessful in dealing with the monkey menace in the areas under its jurisdiction despite having spent lakhs of rupees for the same, NDMC has now decided to go for 'power fencing' or 'simian tape' to keep them away.
"We have already spent over lakhs of rupees on various methods to control the monkey menace, but nothing has worked. We have now decided to scare them away using low-voltage electric fencing," said New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) Health Officer, PK Sharma.
The civic body has started work on installing the electric fencing, also called simian tape, around government buildings and the residences of ministers in Lutyens' Delhi.
"As part of the power-fencing project, boundary walls will be sealed with electric wires which can deliver a low-voltage electric shock. We have decided to do this in consultation with various experts, including animal rights activists," Sharma said.
"This method will not be harmful for the animals as the voltage on such fences is very low. So, the moment the monkeys try to climb any wall, they will get a slight shock and will be scared away," he said.
NDMC has been facing a tough time in keeping monkeys at bay in its areas. It has tried several methods to check the monkey menace, from hiring langur handlers and using air guns and rubber bullets to arranging for proper food for them at a particular feeding areas.
"After the environment ministry objected to deploying langurs terming it a violation of animal rights, we hired a few people who would imitate the cries of langurs to scare them away. But that, too, failed in the long run," Sharma said, adding that they have "a team of 40 members working only to scare the monkeys away using different methods".
NDMC had earlier also tried the power-fencing method on a pilot-project basis, but it had proved to to be expensive and so was not taken further.
"It is an expensive method. The fencing of a particular building costs over Rs 5,00,000, but now we have no option left, so we have started with a few buildings," he said.
"We had earlier tried to shift them to the Asola wildlife sanctuary, but they could not be accommodated there after a time because of their rising numbers," Sharma added.
There are around 8,500 monkeys in NDMC areas.