There’s monkey business going on in Parliament and the government isn’t denying it.
A group of 40 young men has been making the rounds of Delhi’s power corridors, dressed in strange costumes and screeching and grunting loudly. They’re not here to make trouble but just going about their job — tackling the growing army of monkeys that has invaded the hallowed space. And they’ve been hired by the Centre to do this.
Their uniform is unique — a smattering of grey, black and white, with a tail to boot, that turns them into ‘human langurs’. There’s a good reason for this.
Langurs are known to drive away monkeys but with the environment ministry banning their use in 2012, the Centre has decided to go for the human version.
Their weapon of choice: rubber bullet guns.
This information was provided in Parliament on Thursday by urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu, in response to a question on what steps the government had taken to tackle the monkey menace.
“There are certain communities where young men are trained to mimic langurs. These men hide behind trees and make guttural sounds to drive away monkeys. The New Delhi Municipal Council has hired 40 such men who have been deployed in government buildings in and around central Delhi,” a senior official in his ministry said.
The job costs the NDMC between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 9,000 a month.
Unique as it is, humans aping langurs to scare monkeys isn’t a new phenomenon. Last year, Panjab University had hired a dozen such men on its campus.
The NDMC has said that while effective, the human langurs are just a stop-gap measure in battling the simian menace. In the long term, it has sanctioned Rs. 1 lakh per month to the forest department to feed and rehabilitate these monkeys inside the Ridge.