Include monkey chasers under NREGA: Himachal to Centre

"A request has been sent to the Union Rural Development ministry recently for inclusion of daily wagers 'rakha' (one who drives away animals) to protect the crops from monkeys and other wild animals," state Rural Development and Panchayati Raj secretary Srikant Baldi said.

It has asked the Centre to consider appointment of rakhas on the lines of 'chowkidars' (guards) in panchayats.

State Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Jairam Thakur said damage to crops from monkeys and other wild animals in the villages was a big problem and the department has asked its Forest and Horticulture counterparts to work jointly.

According to an estimate, there are over three lakh simians in the hill state.

Farmers complain of large-scale damage to their crops from these animals. Considering the magnitude of the problem, the state government is running a sterilisation campaign in the state to deal with the monkey menace.

In addition to a monkey sterilisation centre in Tuttikundi in Shimla, two more centres have opened in Hamirpur and Kangra.

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