New Delhi, Apr.15 : The Indian capital, New Delhi, is famous worldwide for its monkey menace, especially during the summer months.
People living in Delhi have grappled with the monkey menace for many years now, and over the past decade, things have gone from bad to worse.
Tuesday was no different. Most parts of Central Delhi, and especially the upmarket business district of Connaught Place and neighbouring Janpath, had no power for several hours, becoming victims of the monkey menace.
Hungry monkeys attacked a Chole Batura' vendor, took away his items and climbed onto high-tension cables providing power to the area. One of the monkeys fell onto the main power transformer in the Janpath area, which caused a short circuit, and led to a blackout.
Shopkeepers and customers came out onto the streets to see what the commotion was all about. Some even lodged complaints with the area power distribution authority. Emergency staff has been called in to repair the damaged transformer and cables at the earliest.
This is the second time in the last year-and-a-half that monkeys have caused a power breakdown in the upmarket Janapth-Connaught Place area. In 2007, a similar incident occurred near the popular Hanuman Mandir, causing widespread disruption.
Last October, Delhi's Deputy Mayor S S Bajwa had to pay with his life for the capital's dreaded monkey menace.
Over the last decade or so, the shrinking natural habitat has saddled Delhi with an estimated 10,000 monkeys. So far, relocating them outside the city has been a colossal failure.
The monkey menace is at its worst in the areas of Lutyens Delhi, Patparganj, Anand Vihar, Mehrauli, Kamla Nagar, and also Noida and Gurgaon in the National Capital region.
Both the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Government are responsible for keeping the simian population in check. But neither repeated reminders from the high court or the Supreme Court have made them come up with a solution to the problem.
In 2002, the Delhi High Court first took note of the monkey problem. The MCD spent Rs.14 lakh on shelters in Rajokri and Bakhtawarpur on the outskirts of Delhi and 400 odd monkeys were caught but all of them escaped from the shelters.
In 2004, the High Court ordered that the monkeys be relocated to Madhya Pradesh. The central government even released Rs.25 lakh to Madhya Pradesh but after receiving the first batch of 250 monkeys, the MP government demanded more money.
The case is now in Supreme Court.
In February 2007, the Delhi High court directed the monkeys be sent to the Asola Bhati sanctuary on the City's outskirts. The MCD has expressed its difficulty in finding catchers. So desperate have the officials been that they have hired langurs to scare away the monkeys. This too has failed to scare the monkeys away.
A team of monkey catchers from Tamil Nadu has reportedly been offered Rs.450 for each monkey caught.