How Lucknow deals with monkey menace Recorded langur voices, cut outs


Lucknow, Nov 28 : As the monkey population increases rapidly in the state capital, various organisations have started finding new ways to scare the simians. Life-size cut-outs of langurs have been installed at 10 metro stations to ensure the safety of passengers in Lucknow. The authorities also play recorded voices of angry langurs on speakers to contain the monkey menace. Pushpa Bilani, senior public relations officer of Lucknow Metro, said, "Initially, we played angry langur voices on speakers. It did have some impact but not enough. Simians are too smart. They understood the trick and started ignoring the fake langur voice. Now, the management has decided to display life-size cut-outs of langurs. Meanwhile, we continue to play the fake voices as well." The administration of OCR Buildings at the Burlington Crossing has also installed similar langur cut-outs. The building officials say that the monkey menace has reduced to some extent after the move. Charbagh railway station authorities have hired 45-year-old Kismet, who mimics the langur's voice to shoo away monkeys. "I was the first one to be hired by the railways here. Today, I work with several other men who imitate the langur voice. They work in Aliganj, Indira Nagar, Alambagh, and other areas. Some people even sprinkle langur urine to keep the monkeys at bay," said Kismet. The station has a footfall of about 1 lakh passengers per day. Meanwhile, the management of the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) has brought in actual langurs to scare away monkeys, who often steal from the hospital and patients. The initiative has met partial success, said SGPGIMS officials. People living in the residential colonies say that the authorities have been passing the buck on the issue rather than taking preventative steps. "When we reach out to the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) for help, they ask us to call the forest department, which never comes to our rescue. Contrary to the tall claims of the administration, monkeys are striking everywhere at will, biting individuals, and snatching food items," said Sneha Khanna , a resident of Gomti Nagar. According to officials, around 50 cases of monkey bites are reported across the city almost every month. Besides, the LMC helpline receives at least one or two calls regarding monkey menace per day. These calls, as per civic officials, should ideally be going to the forest department. Lucknow mayor Sanyukta Bhatia said, "Recently, during our LMC meeting, it was decided that the forest department would cooperate and coordinate with other departments to address the issue. Also, the LMC has come up with a plan to set up a Vanar Vatika (monkey garden) where captured simians can be released." The additional municipal commissioner of the animal welfare department, Dr Arvind Rao, said, "Ideally, the forest department must set up a helpline to check the simian menace. However, we can coordinate with them in forwarding the problems faced by residents through our helpline numbers." Ravi Kumar Singh, district forest officer, said, "The forest department is keen to work out a mechanism for coordinating problems faced by residents due to monkey menace. We are also ready to work with the LMC to set up monkey habitats. The monkey is a scheduled animal but this does not mean that it cannot be caught by a municipal corporation. The rules say that local bodies can catch monkeys and put them in habitats. We can supervise the LMC in this work. The forest department, along with the mayor, has already marked some areas in Kanha Upvan and Atal Upvan that are ideal for developing monkey habitats." /IANS




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