Glitch on metro's yellow line: The monkey business of Delhi's monkeys

On Thursday, three monkeys disrupted a section of DRMC's yellow line, bringing the focus back to a problem the city is trying to fight for 15 years

BS Web Team New Delhi
Metro trains parked at a yard as Metro services are suspended during lockdown following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Delhi on Monday.

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Delhi Metro's yellow line was delayed for over an hour on the Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate section on Thursday. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) tweeted about the delay at 7:45 am, and at 9 am, it again tweeted that the normal services have been restored. While Delhi wondered why the services were delayed, reports emerged stating that the delay was due to three monkeys.
According to a report by the Indian Express (IE), the delay was due to the tripping of the overhead equipment (OHE) triggered by monkeys in the section. 

"Train services on the affected section between Kashmere Gate and Central Secretariat section were run through the Up direction track due to the presence of monkeys and restoration of OHE on the Down direction track. This resulted in bunching of trains and subsequent delays primarily on the affected section of Yellow Line during this period," it said, quoting DMRC.
The DMRC contacted the officials of the forest department and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to rescue the monkeys.

Monkey menace in Delhi
The news of monkeys disrupting the lives of Delhiites is not new. Earlier, videos circulating on social media showed monkeys entering the metro and sitting with the passengers. Prominent places like the Prime Minister's office and Delhi High Court have also reported the problem of monkey menace.

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The problem was first highlighted in 2007 when the then-deputy mayor of Delhi, Surinder Singh Bajwa, fell from his balcony and died after being attacked by a monkey. In the same year, the New Friends Colony Residents Welfare Association moved the Delhi HC and demanded a ban on feeding monkeys.
The court banned the feeding of monkeys and allowed municipal corporations to impose fines on violators. Moreover, the monkeys were to be captured, treated and transported to the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.

The bench, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, has also said 25 per cent of the simian population of the city can be sterilised by government agencies.
Food collection drives were to be carried out in the city to feed the monkeys at the sanctuary.

In the fifteen years since then, the Delhi government and MCD have made several attempts to get rid of the problem. They hired monkey catchers for the task, installed langur cut-outs and even ran sterilisation drives for the monkeys.
In fact, a report by The Print, published earlier this month, said that the Delhi HC had hired two men to scare the monkeys away from its premises.

However, if not more severe, the problem remains as it was 15 years ago.
In January this year, advocate Shashwat Bharadwaj filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi HC, calling it a "grave problem of monkey menace" in the city. He was quoted in the report by The Print as saying that in 2019, the Delhi government had received Rs 5.43 crore to sterilise monkeys.

In the same month, the Delhi government told the court that sterilisation was not working and professional monkey catchers were not coming forward to help control the menace.
During the hearing, Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi said the state had received funds from the Centre for the purpose and a tender was floated for hiring monkey catchers, but nobody came forward.

Amid all this, it is unclear when the problem will be solved for Delhiites or if it ever will. Until then, we might have no alternative but to witness them monkeying around. 

First Published: Apr 28 2023 | 11:09 AM IST

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