Himachal Pradesh government urges Centre to declare monkeys 'vermin' for 1 more year
SHIMLA: With the six-month period of monkeys being declared 'vermin' within the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) limits coming to an end on September 14, the Himachal Pradesh government has urged the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to extend it by another year, officials said today.
During the six-month period starting March 14, no monkey was killed, the state government has told the Union ministry, claiming that necessary arrangements were now in place to deal with the menace.
The MoEF had declared monkeys 'vermin' for six months in relaxation of section 62 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and the state government has now urged it to extend the period by one more year, officials said.
The state government has started preparing a "comprehensive plan" to deal with the monkey menace and also to check their growing population, posing a threat to the lives and livelihood of the citizens, they added.
The issue was raised during the Monsoon Session of the Assembly and the members, cutting across party lines, demanded that the Forest Department set up a task force for killing monkeys, which had destroyed crops and forced farmers to abandon cultivation at several places in the state.
The monkey census of July, 2015 revealed that there were about 2,452 of the animals within the SMC limits and eight forest beats -- Jakhu, Summer Hill, Glen, Kaithu, Khalini, Fagli, Tuti Kandi and Bharari -- were identified as "endemic areas".
It was on the basis of data provided by the Wildlife Department about concentration of monkeys in certain pockets that the MoEF had declared the species -- Rhesus Macaque -- vermin within the SMC limits.
Principal Secretary (Forest and Environment) Tarun Kapoor said the department was looking at the issue in a "comprehensive" manner.