Shimla (Vijyender Sharma)
Eco Task Forces will be constituted for scientifically culling of monkeys declared as vermin in the State. As the religious sentiments prevent the people for the same, the work now would be assigned to Eco Task Forces. They will be supported by State Forest Department for scientific culling of monkeys. This was disclosed in a High Powered Committee meeting for Wild Animal and Monkey Menace, Chaired by Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh here today.Chief Minister said that monkey menace had proved to be a bane for the people of the state and it was needed to focus on areas where concentration of monkeys was more. He said since they have been causing much damage to crops and fruits, besides attacking women and children in particular, the Government has decided to open ‘ ‘Rescue Centre for Life Care’ near Shimla.The Chief Minister also said that another Task Forces should also be constituted for dealing with monkeys on National highways, villages and cities. Oral contraceptives should also be tried as a measure to control reproduction in female monkeys. Secretary All India Congress Committee (AICC), Smt. Asha Kumari suggested legal steps to be taken for feeding monkeys on National highways. She said apart from the law being enacted, no action was taken by law agencies at permanent points along-with National highways where groups of monkeys were fed which could lead to any major mishap. She said that a permanent solution was required to deal with the menace of monkeys and other wild life creating havoc. The teams need to focus on particular areas and then find out the drop rate if any in monkey population.
Additional Chief Secretary Shri Tarun Kapoor said that to identify the sterilized monkeys, permanent tattooing was being done in middle of the forehead, adding that the mobile monkey sterilization units (Van) would also be quite useful when made operational. He said that ‘Rescue Centre for Life Care’ would come up near Shimla having capacity to house around 1000 rogue and sterilized monkeys.
Sh. Kapoor said that a list of 53 tehsils and sub-tehsils have been sent to Ministry of Environment (MoEF) Government of India where monkeys could be declared as vermin to provide much needed relief to the farmers and horticulturists. He said that soon a survey would be conducted jointly with Wild Life Institute of India, (WII) Dehradun to declare Wild Boar, Sambar and Nilgai as vermin animals. As of now a decision was taken for culling monkeys in as many as 38 tehsils and sub tehsils in which monkeys have been declared vermin by MOEF. He said the monkey watchers have been deployed near schools in Shimla to keep an eye on the monkeys and prevent any attack on children.
Principal Chief Conservator Forest, Wild Life Shri S.K. Sharma revealed that as many as 1,25, 266 monkeys have been sterilized till march this year out of total estimated population of 2,07,614 as per survey conducted in 2015. He said that Rapid Response Teams (RRT) at each circle level headed by Divisional Forest Officer would be provided tranquilizing guns to sterilize monkeys, besides capturing in transport cages. He said that a feeding station for monkeys was being set up at Jakhoo Temple. He said that it was for the first time that the rates of compensation had also been enhanced.
Secretary AICC Asha Kumari, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Shri Nand lal, MLA’s Shri Sanjay Rattan, Shri Jai Ram Thakur, Shri Suresh Bhardwaj, Vice- Chairman, State Forest Corporation, Shri Kewal Singh Pathania, Chief Secretary, Shri VC Pharka, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Shri S S Negi, Dr. Honnavali N. Kumara Senior scientist from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Qamar Quershi, Scientists, WII, were also present amongst others.
State Wild Life Crime Control Unit to be constituted soon: Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh said the state government was making all-out efforts for preservation and conservation of wild life in the state and it was a matter of great contentment that the efforts of Himachal Pradesh for preservation of wild life had been recognized at the national level.He was presiding over the meeting of State Board for Wild Life held here today. He stressed that separate passages should be constructed for movement of wild life in the sanctuaries and National Parks, where new roads were being constructed. He said Himachal was the largest habitat of snow leopard in the country next to Kashmir to protect snow leopard. The state government had taken matter with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), Banglore for undertaking snow leopard survey in the State during the current financial year. NCF has already taken up the survey work in Spiti under the project. Shri Virbhadra Singh said keeping in view the incidents of killing of wild life, the state government would soon set up State Wild Life Crime Control Unit which would go a long a way in checking crime against the wild life. The Unit would be jointly managed by the Police and Forest departments. He said a sum of Rs. 8.85 crore had been spent on different activities by the state Tourism department in Ramsar Site Pong Dam in Kangra district for the development of tourism activities and it was being further strengthened so that more facilities could be made available at this international wetland. Chief Minister also directed to hold meeting of the State Board for Wild Life once or twice a year to ensure proper monitoring of different activities and on-going projects.Chief Secretary Shri V.C Pharka directed the departments concerned to issue advisory to the tourists especially trekkers before they move to some specific place so as to ensure their safety. It was informed in the meeting that proposal for felling of trees, widening and metalling of Bathri-Sundla-Langera-Jammu and Kashmir boundary road in Gamgul Siyabehi wildlife sanctuary in Chamba district had been submitted for National Board of Wild Life. Non-official members of the Board also gave their valuable suggestions during the meeting. Two minutes silence was observed during the meeting to pray for peace of the former member of the Board Shri Vija Bhushan who expired last year. Members of the Board Shri Chander Kumar and Dr. M.K Ranjit Singh, Vice Chairman HP State Forest Corporation Shri Kewal Singh Pathania, non-official members of the Board, Additional Chief Secretary(Forests) Shri Tarun Kapoor, Managing Director HPTDC Shri Dinesh Malhotra, PCCF Shri S.S Negi and Shri S.K Sharma and other senior officers of various departments attended the meeting.