MHA wants monkey catchers as guards
It is hardly surprising that the Ministry of Home Affairs should be thinking of security. But rather than terror threat or communal clashes, ministry officials, or at least some of them, are fixated over warding off the monkeys attacking the North Block where its offices are located.
The ministry has floated a tender to appoint† monkey catchers at the North Block, where the Finance Ministry also has its offices.
The ministry wants round-the-clock services in the North Block in three eight-hour shifts and insists that the agency willing to provide the services should work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
“The agency will be responsible to drive away the monkeys from the premises of the North Block building, including the floors and terrace. In case of absence on any day, deduction will be made from the monthly bill,” the tender document said. If the monkey catcher is injured at work, the ministry said it will not bear the medical expenses and will pass it up to the agency. The Home Ministry and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) will share the expenditure on the project in the ratio 2:1.
Monkeys roam freely in North Block, breaking flower pots and damaging property, an official said. It became a far serious menace in the last few months as the ‘langurwalas’, who use langurs to chase away small monkeys at the Raisina Hills where the North and South Blocks are located, refused to operate there fearing arrest.
Using langur is banned as the animal is declared an endangered species.
Early this year, MP and animal activist Maneka Gandhi had taken up the issue.
Most of the offices in the VVIP areas of the national capital hire ‘langurwalas’ to fight the monkey menace.
†A ‘langurwala’ used to fetch Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 a month.