Assam: Team formed to resolve monkey menace in Hailakandi

SILCHAR: Forest authorities in southern Assam’s Hailakandi district have formed a team and tasked it with the responsibility to scare away monkeys which have been wreaking terror in different areas of Panchgram in Hailakandi district over the past many months.

According to locals of Panchgram, about 24km from Silchar, a large troop of monkeys has been causing devastation in different areas of Panchgram for the past several months. Incidents of monkeys barging into houses, attacking people, stealing food and destroying valuables have been reported over the past few months.

The areas in Panchgram from where most of the incidents have been reported include Radharani Colony, Panchgram Upper Colony and Kalibari with a combined population of nearly 3000-3500 people.

The primates, which have grown in huge numbers in the past few months, have also bitten a number of people recently and the records are available at the Kalinagar primary health centre where the injured people were treated after being bitten by the monkeys, locals said.

On Thursday, forest officials including Panchgram forest range officer D. Tamuli, Adarkona forest beat officer Sabinoy Deben and a few others visited Panchgram and burnt firecrackers in different areas.

Interacting with reporters, Sabinoy Deben said a team of four forest officials had been entrusted with the responsibility to deal with the problems caused by the monkeys and that the activity of burning crackers would be carried out on a regular basis to compel the primates to leave the residential areas.

A section of locals, however, raised questions about the forest department’s move of trying to scare away the primates by burning firecrackers and claimed that a long-term solution cannot be achieved via this activity. They suggested that the monkeys be caught and sent to a protected place and sought forest minister Chandra Mohan Patowary’s intervention.

The residents, who claim that there are thousands of monkeys in Panchgram, apprised the forest officials on Thursday about the problems being faced by them and implored for a permanent solution. A resident said monkeys roam freely in the residential areas because of which people fear coming out of houses. Living in the area has become very risky, the resident said.

An elderly person said the monkeys used to live in hilly areas around the Cachar Paper Mill in Panchgram in the past, but they came down and formed their habitat near residential areas after the mill’s staff quarters were vacated a few months ago. The ferocious animals often go on a rampage posing threat to life and property, the person said.

Another resident suspected the move by the forest department to scare away the monkeys by burning firecrackers might backfire and that the untamed creatures, which have already become uncontrollable, might start attacking the local people more out of fear and fury. The resident appealed to the government to chalk out a viable solution regarding the monkeys by ensuring that the local people are not harmed.

EastMojo had on October 29 carried a news story on the monkey menace in Panchgram. The story was about the problems being faced by the local residents of Panchgram because of the violent activities of the monkeys.

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