Bengaluru, Mar 19 (IANS): Karnataka is mulling over adopting Himachal Pradesh's sterilisation programme to control the monkey menace, state Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar informed the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
Shettar was replying on behalf of Forest and Ecology Minister Aravind Limbavali in the Assembly during the Question Hour.
As monkeys raiding agricultural fields continue to be a major concern in the Malnad region, BJP MLA Araga Jnanendra highlighted the problem in his constituency and sought to know the progress of the proposed Monkey Park, which was expected to come up near Sagar in Shivamogga district.
Shettar said that a sterilisation programme was carried out successfully in Himachal Pradesh and the same will be replicated in Karnataka.
Hitting out at his own party's government, Jnanendra said the Monkey Park was announced at a cost of Rs 6 crore nearly one-and-a-half years ago.
"It has not seen the light of the day yet. Now the government is saying that it will take up a sterilisation programme at a cost of Rs 25 lakh. Are you going to sterilise male or female monkeys," the BJP MLA asked, terming the entire project as unscientific.
To this, Shettar said that male monkeys will be sterilised while the government would also take up the Monkey Park project on a priority basis.
He added that the forest department has trained 12 veterinary doctors for the sterilisation of male monkeys. "Equipment for this purpose have already been procured. The captured monkeys will be taken to the veterinary colleges for sterilisation and would be kept under watch for 2-3 days before being released into the forests again," Shettar said.
"This programme would be taken up in the entire district of Shivamogga," Shettar added.
Intervening at this juncture, JD(S) MLA from Kolar, Srinivas Gowda, said that the monkey menace is not restricted to Malnad districts.
"They (monkeys) enter the homes in Kolar, causing problems. The monkeys should be captured and released in a remote forest," he said.
Meanwhile, senior JD(S) leader and MLA H.K. Kumaraswamy, BJP leader and former Speaker K.G. Bopaiah and several legislators from Central Karnataka noted that wild boars and deer were behind extensive crop damages.
They said the forest department, which is taking little action to prevent these damages, is also offering inadequate relief to cover the losses.
The legislators also demanded revision of the policy formulated in 2009 to provide compensation for crop loss caused by wild animals such as monkeys, elephants and deer.
Bopaiah said that in Kodagu district alone, Rs 1.30 crore has not been provided to the farmers who had lost their crops because of the damages caused by wild animals.
To this, Shettar said the government has sent a proposal to the finance department to revise the relief amount granted for crop loss caused by wild animals.