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It's Monkey vs Municipality in Delhi

October 25, 2007
Residents of national capital New Delhi are a worried lot. If day-to-day problems like power cuts and water shortage were not enough to make their lives miserable, 14 million Delhiites now encounter the growing menace of monkeys in their midst.

Thanks to the declining forest cover in the city, monkeys have been venturing on the streets of the capital and harassing its residents. Today, there are about 5,500 monkeys creating a ruckus in the city. Sunday's incident involving Delhi's Deputy Mayor S S Bajwa, who died on Sunday last of head injuries after falling off the terrace of his house following an attack by monkeys, has led babus in the Delhi administration to sit up and take notice.

The residents of Delhi have given up on municipal authorities to tackle the monkey menace. They have been pleading for an affirmative action since the past five years, but to no avail. Eventually, they knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court, which responded by cracking the whip on the state government. "If you can't control the monkeys, what can you do," it asked.

But how did this problem evolve? One of the major reasons attributed to the growing menace is the loss of natural habitat. With the green cover in the city shrinking, the monkeys have been taking shelter in temples, residential neighbourhoods and even government offices.

Image: It is common to see monkeys cross the road leading to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Reportage: Vicky Nanjappa in New Delhi | Photograph: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

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