Marauding monkeys haunt city but no solution in sight
When it comes to ‘monkey business’, it seems the city just hasn’t had enough, probably because a holistic and time-bound approach to deal with the menace is lacking.
The marauders that so far raided gardens or kitchen cabinets and sneaked into railway stations and hospitals to cause damage, now boldly breeze into the newly built Metro stations too. Recently, the pesky primates damaged the power wires of Lucknow Metro track and brought the system to a halt for about five minutes. Fortunately, the advanced technology used by the Metro not only detected the problem area but also filmed the monkeys damaging the electricity wires. Public relations officer, Lucknow Metro, Nancy Arora said, “The LMRC has requested the forest department to catch the monkeys near Metro stations. Recently the Metro suffered some loss due to the animals.”
Monkey attacks are also a cause of worry for a premier hospital like the Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences as well as the railway authorities, because Charbagh and Aishbagh railway stations are equally prone to the menace. The primates also pose a risk to people at public spaces.
Feeling the pinch, residents of some areas where the population of monkeys has multiplied all of a sudden are now complaining about the loss that they suffer.
Director PGI professor Rakesh Kapoor said, “Earlier we hired services of a langoor to chase away the monkeys but animal rights activists opposed this, so now we only make patients and their attendants aware of the presence of monkeys and appeal to them to not keep edibles in the open.” “Be it Indira Nagar, Aliganj, Gomti Nagar, Mahanagar, government gardens or any other area, marauding monkeys have been harassing people everywhere,” said Shravan Nayak, corporator of Guru Govind Singh -Sardar Patel ward. “Monkeys wreak havoc, uprooting small plants, destroying flowers, eating petals and roots and leaving behind mud, broken pots and ravaged plants,” said an official of the government garden, Alambagh.
“Monkeys raid kitchens and snatch food. They also spread filth inside houses besides tearing clothes drying outside,” said Nikhil Chaturvedi, a resident of Patel Nagar, Alambagh.
“The monkey population is finding easy food inside the city so it is spreading to new urban habitats,” said district forest officer Manoj Sonkar.
“We receive frequent complaints of monkeys troubling people. At present the forest department catches the monkeys. Once caught, they must be released somewhere so that they may not trouble humans again. There are three big forest spots for this, the nearest being Kukrail forest area. The other two are Sarojininagar and Mohanlalganj forest areas. But usually they return,” Sonkar said.
Former chief forest conservator Rupak Dey said, “The present generation of monkeys is born in the city and is better adapted to urban life. So these monkeys are cleverer, causing more damage and attacking more. The only solution is the castration of monkeys in large numbers, but the forest department does not have the required funds. So people will have to suffer till this problem is taken up by the state government on priority.”
“Monkeys can reproduce every six months, so their population grows rapidly. The size of their pack grows from just four or five in the first year to over a dozen in the next,” he explained.