Simi­ans' sanc­tu­ary

Down to Earth - - HEALTH -

WHILE THE gov­ern­ment has been ig­nor­ing the plight of the res­i­dents of San­jay Colony, it takes ut­most care of the mon­keys that have been left in the ad­join­ing sanc­tu­ary.

Af­ter a 2007 Delhi High Court or­der, the civic agen­cies have been catch­ing mon­keys from Delhi's up­mar­ket lo­cal­i­ties and send­ing them to Asola Bhatti. About 16,000 mon­keys have been kept in the sanc­tu­ary.

Th­ese mon­keys of­ten raid the houses in San­jay colony for food and bite women and chil­dren. "Seven to eight cases of monkey bit­ing are re­ported ev­ery day. The for­est depart­ment doesn't even pro­vide the vac­ci­na­tion, for­get the com­pen­sa­tion," says Seeto Od, a com­mu­nity leader.

"When peo­ple protest against the monkey men­ace, the for­est of­fi­cials al­lege that we steal mon­keys' food given by the for­est depart­ment. This is ridicu­lous," says Baldev, a res­i­dent. The gov­ern­ment has been spend­ing more than 1 crore an­nu­ally to feed mon­keys as there are no fruit trees avail­able in the sanc­tu­ary.

Till ear­lier this month, ev­ery day a truck load of fruits and veg­eta­bles were brought in the sanc­tu­ary by the for­est depart­ment to feed the mon­keys. How­ever, ear­lier this month, the food sup­ply stopped as the for­est depart­ment has failed to pay the sup­plier 94 lakh for the past eight months. Vil­lagers al­lege heavy cor­rup­tion in the food sup­ply to mon­keys. When DownToEarth vis­ited Bhatti mines, this cor­re­spon­dent hardly found any monkey in­side the sanc­tu­ary. In­stead they were found in the set­tle­ments.

The Asola-Bhatti Sanc­tu­ary houses around 16,000 mon­keys. In­ci­dents of monkey bites are com­mon in the area

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