A mischievious monkey is not seeing eye to eye with residents of the Himachal Pradesh capital. He is focusing instead on their spectacles and running away with them!
The 'farsighted' simian has even entered an office and decamped with a pair of glasses.
In the past week, it has snatched five specs from the office of the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL), a PSU located in the Tuttikandi area.
HPPCL director (electricity) A.C. Sharma too lost his glasses to the monkey. The monkey entered his room two days ago and smartly snatched them from the office table without showing any interest in other office accessories.
Another employee, Jagdish Chaudhary, said the monkey even pounced on people wearing spectacles, on two occasions, catching victims unawares, removing their glasses and then fleeing into the nearby woods.
"It is becoming a headache for employees here. We are advising visitors not to wear spectacles while coming to office," he said.
Sandeep Rattan, a veterinary surgeon said, "This is an imitative behaviour and it's normally seen in sub-adult monkeys. They generally get pleasure out of it."
"If we start offering them some reward to get the items back, then they start looking for such opportunities. They should be scared not rewarded."
Himachal Pradesh has been facing a problem of marauding monkeys that have been ruining standing crops. Thousands of farmers in Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Mandi and Kangra districts have incurred losses mainly due to the monkey menace.
As per forest department estimates, more than 900,000 farmers are affected by over 300,000 monkeys, who mainly target the cereal and fruit crops, causing extensive damage to the farmers.
Kheti Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, an NGO working for the cause of farmers, says lifting the ban on export of monkeys is the only way to check their rising numbers.