Living in a 550-acre leafy campus located next to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park has its pros and cons. Students of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), Powai, are reminded of this regularly.
The proximity to nature also brings frequent encounters with wildlife. While the campus has the occasional leopards straying from the national park, monkeys are more frequent visitors. Students have complained about attacks by monkeys on the lookout for food. The institute has received complaints about food and personal belongings of students stolen from hostel rooms and students being chased by troops of simians.
“Monkeys are not new on the campus. However of late, these monkeys have started attacking students,” said one of the students. Over the past few weeks, complaints have come from students staying in hostels 3, 5, 7 and 9. Students have mentioned that maximum attacks happen in the morning when they leave their rooms for lectures. “If one ever forgets to properly lock their rooms, these monkeys destroy clothes and valuables,” said another student.
While the general secretary of one of the hostels has recently complained to BMC officials through the public health office (PHO), a temporary suggestion by authorities has left students in splits. “Bursting crackers in hostel wings has been recommended as a temporary solution to this problem as of now,” said one of the students
IIT-B students took to their in-house magazine — Insight — to share their problems, especially since the college authorities have not been very helpful. The PHO on campus has been approached to seek help but students were surprised when officials blamed them for inviting trouble by feeding monkeys. “It leaves us wondering why the authorities think that at 8:30 am we’ll be feeding monkeys, when we haven’t had the time to eat breakfast before dashing to class,” read an article in Insight.