Departments lying on the fringes of the Panjab University campus have been terrorised by monkeys. With monkeys hanging around the forest cover of the varsity, departments, including University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), biophysics, biochemistry, centre for systems biology and bioinformatics departments, as well as some departments in the pharmacy and biomedical sciences block, have to deal with a persistent problem.
Students and faculty members of various departments claimed that they have to move a round cautiously in order to not attract the animals.
“The problem began after a Government of India notification (issued in 2013) instructed us not to hire baboon wallahs for warding off the monkeys.
The problem was not so serious earlier, when the baboon wallahs guarded the nearby hostels,” said an official. He said that monkeys come to the areas surrounding the departments after ‘trained’ guards, appointed to deal with the menace, shoo them away from hostel nos 4, 5 and 6.
Faculty members from the department claimed that the animals, on several occasions, even broke into their departments and damaged windowpanes and instruments in laboratories.
“On one occasion, monkeys broke a wash basin in a department and also caused an airconditioning unit to fall,” a faculty member said, adding that no cases of monkey bites have been reported so far.
Bhupinder Singh Bhoop, coordinator of centre of excellence in nanoapplications, one of the several institutes facing the problem, writing to PU administration about the problem has yielded no results. “Sometimes, monkeys outnumber us. The problem is more acute on the weekends when there are fewer people around,” he said.
A faculty member of the biophysics department said female students and researchers who stayed back late suffered most. “There are no guards around.
The area also wears a deserted look in the evening. Students and faculty members leaving the labs late in the evening leave cautiously,” said the official.
Panjab University Campus Student Council president Chandan Rana said several students have complained about the problem. “We recently took up the issue with the PU administration,” he said.
Dean student welfare (DSW) Navdeep Goyal, when contacted, claimed that PU authorities were aware of the problem. “We recently sanctioned Rs. 1 lakh for the appoinment of trained guards to deal with the menace,” he said.