Monkey menace becomes major poll issue in Himachal

Himachal Pradesh administration has failed to curb threats from monkeys to people and crops

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh administration`s failure to curb threats from monkeys to people and crops has emerged as a key issue in the run-up to the November 4 state assembly elections.

The worst hit areas of the state are Sirmaur, Kullu, Bilaspur, Mandi and Chamba districts.

Farmers have often complained that wild monkeys have destroyed the crops in the field and attacked locals.

A farmer, Sewak Ram Sharma, highlighted the apathy of the state government and their failure to take adequate steps to curb the rising menace of monkeys.

"The monkeys have destroyed the crops in the fields of the landlords and no arrangement has been made to ensure fencing of the fields. They had promised that effective steps will be taken and a watchman will be hired under the scheme of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) but till now nothing has been done," said Sharma.

Shimla is famous for its scenic beauty, which attracts large number of tourists every year but the tremendous increase in the monkey population has become a major problem for the tourists as well.

In the state, tourism is one of the key sectors, which strengthens the socio-economic condition of the poor.

A local, Ramsaran in Kasumpti said that the monkeys enter their houses and steal food from kitchens.

"The biggest problem for us is the monkeys who enter our fields and houses, causing damage to our crops and household items," said Ramsaran.

The farmers criticised the government for making false promises and said that there is a need of a guard to protect their crops in the fields.

The state assembly consists of 68 seats, 42 of which were won by Bharatiya Janata Party in the previous election.

Bharatiya Janata Party is making several attempts to seek another term for Chief Minister of India`s northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is leading the campaign.

Former federal minister and leader of India`s ruling Congress party and also five time Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh would contest from Shimla (Rural).

The single-phase election in Himachal Pradesh will take place on November 04 while counting of votes is scheduled on December 20.

Earlier, in 2012, five states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab in the north, Goa in the west and Manipur in the northeast had gone to polls.


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