Date
20 October 2017
Langurs and their handlers hang out in Delhi. Monkey impersonators have been hired to chase langurs from government buildings but some say monkey handlers and their wards can do the job better and cheaper. Photo: NBC News
Langurs and their handlers hang out in Delhi. Monkey impersonators have been hired to chase langurs from government buildings but some say monkey handlers and their wards can do the job better and cheaper. Photo: NBC News

What’s all this Delhi monkey business about?

They wish they could simply legislate them out of the way but they can’t, so lawmakers in New Delhi turned to the local government to keep unruly monkeys from the legislative building.

The government’s response? It employed 40 men to impersonate the primates and scare them away.

But the solution isn’t that straightforward and the appointments must go through the bureaucratic process, including a legislative appearance by the minister of urban development and an official press release.

In reply to a legislator’s question, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the men are trained persons who disguise themselves as monkeys, according to the Business Standard.

They’re each paid 8,000 rupees (US$131) a month to do the job.

However, some legislators said the work could be done for less money by simply employing monkey caretakers and letting them and their wards chase the offending simians away.

The Delhi fire department added fuel to the mix by saying the monkey impersonators are handicapped because they can’t climb walls and trees as well as their quarry.       

The object of all this discussion is a group of monkeys called langurs, a sub-species of primates characterized by a dark face and black hands and feet. They spend half the time in trees and the other half on the ground where they get the run of the place and wreak havoc.

They’re known to invade government offices, especially British-era buildings along Delhi’s wide, leafy boulevards.

And that’s when they make functionaries jump up and down over their unwelcome presence.

Just to be sure, the men hired to end their misery are equipped with sticks and rubber bullets, none of them lethal, of course.

That will do for now while officials plan a training academy for humans hoping to make a living aping monkeys.

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RA

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