This is how authorities in Lucknow are keeping a check on marauding monkeys
If you haven't been robbed at least once by a scampering monkey in the land of Awadh, you haven't properly seen the wild side of Lucknow.
The population of monkeys, who've been on the job of plundering people's belongings, especially all types of food, for a while now, has risen drastically and the city authorities have come up with new ways to keep the citizens safe from the reaving monkeys.
So, what is this fiddle-faddle about, you ask? As per official records, about 50 cases of monkey bites are registered across Lucknow almost every month. Complaints about the menace created by langurs are reported daily, at least twice, on the LMC helpline.
Ways to resolve the monkey menace
The rather innovative ways that the authorities have come up with include displaying life-size cut-outs of the animals at some 9-10 metro stations of the city. This has been done to put an anvil to the population from entering the metro stations.
To further ensure the safety of the travellers, the metro authorities have also been playing recorded voices of langurs on speakers.
"Initially, we played angry langur voices on speakers. It did have some impact but not enough. Simians are too smart. They understood the trick and started ignoring the fake langur voice. Now, the management has decided to display life-size cut-outs of langurs. Meanwhile, we continue to play the fake voices as well," explained Pushpa Bilani, senior public relations officer of Lucknow Metro.
The OCR Buildings' admin at the Burlington Crossing has followed the footsteps and installed similar life-size cut-outs. As per the building officials, the monkey mischief has somewhat been managed.
Old practises of managing the monkeys
Amidst the old practises lies the act of mimicry. In a more old-school fashion, the Charbagh railway station authorities have been taking the containing strategies up a notch by hiring a "kalandar" that mimicked the langur's voice in order to get rid of the monkeys. Other employees have been hired alongside him to work in coordination to shoo away the simians. This has been in the scenario for a while.
Earlier this year, it was also decided that the city will see four 'monkey forests' to keep a check on their growing population.
According to officials, Umaria was being developed as the first monkey forest at the Bakshi-Ka-Talab area. The forest areas will encompass plantation of fruit trees to generate food for the monkeys and a pond/reservoir for water.
Establishing monkey habitats
Lucknow's Mayor Sanyukta Bhatia gave an update on the issue, saying, "Recently, during our LMC meeting, it was decided that the forest department would cooperate and coordinate with other departments to address the issue. Also, the LMC has come up with a plan to set up a Vanar Vatika (monkey garden) where captured simians can be released."
It had also been decided that the forest department will set up a helpline to register the complaints and act on the same. They are also expected to work with the LMC to establish monkey habitats.