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