Silchar, March 26: For the last few years, there has been a new phenomenon, not different from any urbanized areas of the country, of monkeys deserting their habitats in forested and hilly areas and moving towards towns and greener belts around industrial units or private nursing homes as well as even in residential areas also of Cachar. Often, the monkeys take a defiant attitude and create troubles for the residents. They also become cause of extreme disturbance in some cases.
There have also been instances in and around this town when hungry monkeys in search of food have pounced upon inmates of a house or members taking a morning stroll on the rooftops, leading to injuries and calling for immediate medical care. Intervention of the forest department has to be sought when the monkeys take mecing form. Not long ago, windows of the houses have to be shut down, particularly for the safety of children and also for keeping the household eatables safe.
Even in town areas due to rapid urbanization, the greener zones are shrinking. The broadening of roads, raising of residential complexes and business establishments are taking a toll of them. It is the fast changing landscape of this town, once known for its flora and green trees, is losing its space for the primates. Apart from this town, the primates have also taken shelter in Panchgram Paper Mill residential areas, Sriko Kalyani Hospital, in the backyard of the Sriko ITI, Silcoorie tea estate areas, in and around the Kumbhirgram airport, Assam University campus and other areas.
Conservatiolists and turalists are worried at the migration of monkeys from their tural habitats and attribute it to the manmade machitions. Forests are being systematically denuded by timber mafias and anti social elements without any interference from the forest department, raising the obvious question of its being hand in glove with them. Cachar boasted of more than 30% of the forest cover which has been drastically reduced to less than 20%. This is a phenomenon which is driving away the primates to urban and semi-urban areas.
Not far from Badarpur railway station was the densely forested Jhumbasti inhabited by a tribal community. This was known as the habited areas of monkeys. With the coming of Barak Valley Cement Company Limited and the infiltration of human population around the hilly tract with rich flora, the primates have been forced to migrate to other areas. There is no estimate of the casualties suffered by these monkeys while moving to urban and semi-urban areas. The helpless primates in their struggle for survival are now facing untold sufferings which remain untold if not seen and visually recorded.
Prof. Aveek Gupta, turalist attached to the Department of Ecology, Assam University, said, “The migration of primates in the urban areas is no doubt a big problem. Reasons are not far to seek. In fact, they are forced by the circumstances to take shelter in places basically in search of food. Being quite adoptive to the situation, the primates have learn to live and survive with human population.” The state, the district and the forest administrations perhaps have no role except to watch. It is indeed the great tragedy for the forest dwellers!
Primates face struggle for survival in Cachar