DEOGARH : The Forest department has adopted a new measure to curb the monkey menace in Deogarh town by installing sound repellers to drive the simians away. Earlier it was using air guns. The machines are being used for the first time in the State.
Deogarh DFO Khyama Sarangi said the machines have been installed at three places on experimental basis. "We have installed them at places most affected by monkey attacks. If they are effective, more will be installed in the next phase across the town," he said.
The machines run on electricity. However, plans are afoot to make them solar-powered so that they can be operated 24x7. The ultrasonic sound repeller creates powerful high-frequency ultrasonic waves that cannot be heard by human beings and household pets. However, they create pain and discomfort in monkeys and ensure they stay away from the area.
Monkey incursion into the town is a huge problem. Despite steps taken by the Forest department, the monkeys which enter the town form nearby reserve forest often attack the residents. The problem is so acute that people are wary of venturing out of their homes. On an average, at least two cases of monkey attack or bites are reported in the town every day. The monkeys also wander around in the hospital premises posing danger to the patients, doctors and staff.
"Monkeys have made life miserable for the people here. They attack, they bite, they snatch things notwitshtanding the destruction of plants, and property. People have stopped maintaining a garden in their houses for fear of inviting the apes and resultant danger," said Bholanath Das, a resident.
Of the 11 wards under Deogarh Municipality, at least seven are badly affected including Babusahi, Lalusahi, Kacherisahi, Gurusahi, Market area, Khaparsahi, Navodayasahi and Pandasahi. The worst sufferers are those residing in houses with asbestos roofs as the monkeys often throw the tiles around causing extensive damage to such dwellings.