Panchkula’s Sec-25 green belt turns forest, residents live in fear of wildlife : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Sanjay Bumbroo

Panchkula, November 22

With the Sector-25 green belt, adjacent to the Panchkula-Yamunanagar National Highway No. 73, turning into a forest, residents have been forced indoors amid fear of wildlife.

As the forest area, across the Ghaggar, is inhabited by snakes, scorpions and monkeys, the residents had approached the MC authorities and Forest Department officials to get it cleared of wild overgrowth. However, no concrete action to contain the monkey menace has been initiated, they claim.

The residents say the number of monkeys in the area is steadily rising and the animals often camp on rooftops, and in courtyards, stores and verandas of houses. The simians get aggressive on being chased away and many a time end up biting children and women, they claim.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the Municipal Corporation to create a sanctuary for monkeys and sterilize these. However, the MC has failed to provide relief to the residents from the menace. Further, the Forest Department has failed to chalk out a strategy to keep the animals away from residential areas.

Neha Khanna, an area resident, says people are living under the shadow of fear as the green belt area has turned into a forest. She says dangerous animals living in the vicinity have put the lives of children and elderly people at risk.

Advocate Abhishek Singh, also a resident, says the Forest Department has fenced off its land, but has not taken any initiative to clear the dense foliage within the green belt.

He says due to the lurking danger from wild animals, people have been forced to stay indoors in the evening hours.

Advocate Prashant Gupta, another resident, says he had filed a petition in the HC to get rid of the monkey menace. The court, while taking cognisance, had issued directions to the MC to build a sanctuary and control the monkey population by carrying out sterilization. With the MC failing to act, a notice has been served on the civic body by him, he says.

District Forest Officer Bhupinder Singh Raghav says the land has been given in exchange for the forest land in Jhuriwala and they will develop it as a natural forest or nursery. The area would be covered with barbed wire.

On the monkey menace faced by residents, he says monkeys are present in the entire area, even in Sector 24. These enter the residential areas in search of food.

Overgrowth not cleared, monkeys have free run

  • The Sector-25 green belt, located along the NH-73, is inhabited by snakes, scorpions and monkeys.
  • Forest Dept has fenced off land, but has not taken steps to clear dense foliage within green belt
  • Residents say monkeys often camp on rooftops, in courtyards, stores and verandahs of houses
  • With bite cases being reported, residents approached MC and forest officials to get overgrowth cleared, but to no avail