Shimla: Finding it hard to contain marauding monkeys from raiding and damaging farmlands, wild life wing of the forest ministry holds that male sterilization of the expanding simian population was the shortest method to containing their population.
JP Nadda in response to a Vidhan Sabha question by Vipin Parmar (BJP) today stated that religious belief were coming in the way to contain the monkey menace.
He said that foresters were permitting killing of monkeys but the people were not coming forward to do so.
Increasing population of monkeys was a serious problem which was damaging crops, leading to farmers abandoning cropping areas, he said.
Between December 2003 and July 2004 a monkey census was conducted in three phases, which had come up with a population of over 3.17 lakh monkeys in the state. Besides, there were over 50 thousand baboons (Langurs).
The experiment to set up primate protection parks had failed as monkeys put into the 232 hecatre Tara Devi park left the place and went into neighbouring regions.
The minister said that three sterilization centres had been opened at Shimla, Hamirpur and Gopalpur in Kangra. An amount of Rs 2.45 crore had been released for setting up these facilities and another one for Una would be set up soon.
Till 25.7.2009, a total of 6160 monkeys had been sterilized in the three primate clinics, said Nadda. In the absence of other methods, sterilization was the shortest to contain the simian problem, he said.
Rakesh Pathania, (Independent) in a supplementary question mentioned the proportions the monkey menace had reached as farmers in Nurpur region had cut down mangroves and other fruit trees simply to grow other crops, which could be protected from monkeys.
He demanded setting up a sterilization centre in the area, which the minister said would be considered.
In response to another question by Nand Lal (congress), the forest minister said Rs 4 crore had been sanctioned to Saharan Pheasantry for captive breeding of Western Tragopan, which was proving to be a success.
He said that a Ranjit Singh committee which visited the state in April, 2009 had recommended denotifying 767 of the 790 villages that are entrapped with notified wild life sanctuary areas. This would help to approve development projects in these areas which otherwise suffer because of permissions being denied under wild life protection Act.
There are two National Parks and 33 Wild Life Sanctuaries in the state, said Nadda.