Marauding monkeys a poll issue in HP

Marauding monkeys a poll issue in HP

Sounds bit uncanny, but its true. Marauding monkeys are turning out to be an election issue in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh.

Political parties are promising a durable solution to the scaling menace that is estimated to cause phenomenal damage to crops and agriculture produce in excess of Rs 150 crore annually. The BJP, seeking to wrest power from the Congress, has even incorporated a sustainable option to tackle monkey menace in its vision document.

In at least over 2000 villages and several urban settlements in the hill state, residents and farmers have been at the receiving end of marauding monkeys. The problem has remained largely unaddressed, which is why residents and farmers' groups are now seeking a response from political parties to take up the issue on priority. With monkey's occupying some part of the political rhetoric during campaigning, the Congress, the BJP and the CPM are assuring farmers of a solution.

Simian attacks on humans also have shown no signs of a slowdown. Close to 700 people have been injured in attacks by monkeys in the last three years. Interestingly, the HP government provides compensation to those injured in attacks by monkeys. Government sources said a sum of Rs 28 lakh was disbursed to those injured in such attacks.

BJP spokesperson Praveen Sharma said his party is aware of the growing monkey menace and is working out a sustainable solution. Candidates during their campaigning are assuring people of remedies. The simian population, despite the sterilisation measures undertaken, stands at 2.06 lakh as per last year's census.

Cash incentive

The Congress and the CPM have demanded that the Centre lift the ban on export of monkeys to resolve the menace.

The Congress government under Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh even offered a cash incentive of Rs 300 for every monkey killed. This was an attempt to involve people in the culling that was ordered. Monkeys have been declared vermin by the Centre in state capital Shimla and 39 other destinations where the problem was severe.

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