Only 13 per cent of the total 13,000 monkeys caged by the catchers in last three years have been sterilised, as per the officials at the rescue centre in Haridwar’s Chidiapur. The centre, state’s lone wildlife sterilization facility for simians, could carry out only 1700 surgeries.“The slow pace of sterilization is highly disappointing. If we continue doing this at such pace, then the problem of simian menace is never going to end in our state,” Harak Singh Rawat, state forest minister said.The issue was discussed during State Board for Wildlife meeting chaired by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Friday. Two board members, Prakash Thapliyal and Tehri legislator Dhan Singh Negi raised the issue of the growing monkey menace in the state.Thapliyal proposed to put an end to the sterilization process, which he said, had failed even in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. Negi stressed on designing bigger cages to house the simians to contain the problem.“Nearly 600 monkeys are sterilized every year as per the data provided by the department against the total population of over 1.50 lakh. At this pace, how are we supposed to deal with this problem,” Negi asked.The state continues to face a dearth of local monkey catchers. The forest department is currently dependant on professionals from Uttar Pradesh. The department is paying Rs 300 to catchers for every monkey sterilized. So, while 13000 monkeys have been caged, the payment will only be made for the 1700 that have been neutered. The rates, however, are low compared to Himachal Pradesh that pays Rs 800 per monkey.Hearing a PIL filed by a Bageshwar resident, the Uttarakhand high court had in April directed the state government to submit an action plan to mitigate the problem. Prior to that, a PIL was filed on the same issue in 2016 too. In November 2017, Almora residents had hit the streets against prevailing monkey menace in the region. Digvijay Singh Khati, chief wildlife warden claimed that that the department was adopting three techniques to mitigate the problem. “Catch and release is one option, catch and sterilize is second and the third is being tested by Wildlife Institute of India regarding oral contraception. We are trying our best to contain the menace,” he said.