Taking note of the rising wild animal menace in Himachal, chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday announced to set up a state-level committee to find a solution to the menace.
The committee will be headed by the chief minister and would have the leader of opposition and several experts as its members.
Replying to the discussion over the rising wild animal menace, he said this was not a problem of a certain political party, but that of the entire state. "Farmers are worried due to this problem and we have to initiate effective steps to curb the menace," he said.
The CM also underlined the need to check the rising monkey population and to practice various steps to sterilise them.
Earlier, forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmauri said the state government had raised the issue of declaring monkey as "vermin" with the Centre, and would submit its report in October as the monkey census had been completed recently, which led Dhumal to comment that the government should not wait until October.
Bharmauri said 96,609 monkeys had been sterilised in eight sterilisation centres across the state, adding that ultra sonic machines were being used to curb the monkey menace.
The minister informed nine types of wild animals, including wild boar, sambar deer and nilgai, had been declared dangerous to crops.
Earlier, legislators questioned the monkey sterilisation data and claimed that monkey population had increased.
Initiating the debate, Dharampur MLA Mahendra Singh said wild animals, especially monkeys, were increasing and posing threat to the people and agrarian activities. He said until 1978, monkeys were exported to foreign countries, but that had been banned. "We should make efforts to lift the ban on monkey export," he said.
Later, Dhumal said legislation was required to lift the ban on monkey export.
Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Jagat Singh Negi also questioned the sterilisation data. He said as per records several monkeys had been sterilised in Kinnaur, but actually the number was far lower.
He also said rising above the sentiments, government should allow culling of wild animals who were posing threat to agrarian community.
Kullu legislator Maheshwar Singh said government was setting up centres for monkey sterilisation and huge exercise was being carried out to catch monkeys. "During emergency sterilisation of human was done in jungles, so government should do monkey sterilization in jungles on the spot," he said.
He also said monkey catchers were earning lakhs, while the farmers, victims of the wild animal menace, were getting nothing.
Dalhousie legislator Asha Kumari raised the issue of stray dogs. She said stray dog menace was increasing and posing threat to the lives of people. She also cited an incident where stray dogs killed a school child. Nahan legislator Rajiv Bindal said the issue could be tacked but required strong political will to frame an effective policy and ensure effective implementation. He also claimed that canine population was increasing despite high sterilisation claims.
Jhanduta MLA Rikhi Ram Kaundal said government decision of not allotting land for cow sheds was not fair. Manali legislator Govind Thakur said temples in Himachal had lot of money that should be spent on construction of cowsheds.