As Mercury Soars, Simian And Canine Nuisance Stings Agra Residents, Even Taj Mahal Not Safe

As Mercury Soars, Simian And Canine Nuisance Stings Agra Residents, Even Taj Mahal Not Safe

Agra, April 10 (TNA) Civil society groups in Agra have raised an alarm over the alarming canine and simian nuisance, with the number of cases of dog bites and monkey attacks going up at the district hospital, as temperatures rise. “From a trickle now the number of cases daily has crossed 200 at the district hospital. The number of cases being treated privately goes into hundreds,” said Chaturbhuj Tiwari, a social activist in the Sanjay Place commercial area.

Mukesh Jain, a philanthropist and convener of the Administration and Civil Society group asked the Municipal Corporation veterinarian “why sterilization of stray dogs and monkeys had been suspended for the past few months.” Stray dogs and monkeys keep attacking unsuspecting tourists at the Taj Mahal and other monuments. Two years ago cops on duty were trained to use catapults to shoo away the monkeys but after a furore by animal rights groups, the initiative was given up.

“Many monkeys and dogs have been rounded up and sterilized in the past two years. Their number has gone down,” say Nagar Nigam officials. The problem is that as temperatures rise these animals become aggressive and when food is not available, they start attacking people, mostly pedestrians, says environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya. The municipal corporation officials claim that the problem of stray cattle on the Yamuna banks has been resolved and no stray cows or bulls can now be seen loitering around.

Many private houses and residential complexes have now installed electric fencing to deter monkeys. These systems are run by solar power or low-powered batteries and proved effective, according to a shopkeeper in the Belanganj area. As the election campaign picks up momentum, voters are asking “Netas” what plans their parties had to control simian and canine nuisance that had forced lifestyle changes. “Even in this hot weather, we are afraid of going to our terraces due to the monkey menace. In the past few years, there have been numerous cases of monkey attacks, some having proved fatal,” says Nandan Shrotriya, a priest of a temple on the Yamuna Kinara road.

On every road crossing one can see dozens of stray animals, old or sterile cows merrily grazing away, an injured donkey or dozens of dogs chasing you wildly and if you manage to escape safely the waiting monkeys will pounce upon you from the tree tops or balconies, often snatching away glasses or the bags.
Jugal Kishore Pandit, Vrindavan

Every few days someone or the other is attacked by simian marauders on a rampage. Women and children are the main targets of the aggressive monkeys that are all over from terraces to the trees, making life miserable for the citizens. Stray cows, dogs, and red-faced monkeys have made life hell for residents of Braj Mandal. From Vrindavan to Mathura and Gokul, and from Goverdhan to Barsana, the bovine, canine, and simian nuisance is causing alarm after a series of attacks on women and children. The pilgrims are not safe. Even the VVIPs are advised to be careful with their spectacles while visiting the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan.

The residents complain that despite numerous complaints to authorities, neither the UP Forest Department nor the municipal authorities have shown any interest in containing the growing menace of stray animals on roads.

According to the rules, the monkeys can attack humans but humans can't kill or shoot them, says a harassed resident of Belanganj, Manish Kumar.

"You can't freely move around the terrace, or keep flower pots. Children and women in particular are the target of these marauding monkeys. The monkeys start their journey a little after dawn and take the circuitous route jumping from one terrace to another or running across streets to settle on the Yamuna ghats where they hang around the whole day running and attacking people. The return journey in the evening is equally devastating for the residents of these mohallas.

In Goverdhan monkeys are a nuisance all along the parikrama route, and around Mansi Ganga holy pond. In Vrindavan, there's hardly a lane without armies of simians who are thoroughly trained to target pilgrims wearing specs returned only in exchange for a pack of Parle G biscuits. Can anything be done to contain the menace of stray animals? “Yes, since one can not kill animals here, they should either be captured and released in the jungles or sterilised to check their population," says social activist Padmini Iyer.

The News Agency