Cong MLA Jagjivan Pal suggests mass culling of monkeys in Himachal

Himachal Pradesh Chief Parliamentary Secretary and Congress MLA Jagjivan Pal on Tuesday suggested "mass culling" of monkeys as the most effective and viable solution to tackle the monkey menace in the state.

Pal, who was among 11 MLAs, including former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who participated in a heated discussion in the Assembly on the issue, proposed engaging police, army or any other force to undertake a "secret" mass shooting of monkeys in the state.

"As Punjab wiped out militancy by killing terrorists supporting Khalistan, Himachal must wake up, do a combing operation and organise a single-day operation to kill all the monkeys. This is the only solution. Otherwise monkeys will survive and human beings will vanish," he said in the House.

The discussion, initiated by former minister Gulab Singh Thakur, revolved around a consensus to permit killing of monkeys. Dhumal also made a proposal to the government to approach the High Court and get a stay on killing of monkeys vacated and write to the Centre to demand lifting of ban on export of monkeys.

He said the sterilisation process started by the BJP government had not shown desired results even as official figures suggest that the monkey population has come down by 96,086.

Replying to the discussion, Industry and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Agnihotri conceded the House demand to immediately move the High Court to seek lifting of a ban on killing monkeys. He also said the government would take up the matter with the Centre - wherein a committee headed by the Prime Minister is supposed to hold a meeting and allow export of monkeys.

"The government is keeping its all options open and sterilisation will continue on a large scale. The government will also explore the possibilities of barbed wire fencing as had been done by Punjab, besides setting up village level committees and appointment of rakhas under MNGREGA," he said.

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