The Delhi High Court today said the problem of increasing monkey population was "aggravating with each passing day" and directed the AAP government to place before the Centre, its proposed plan for trapping and sterilization.
Direction was also issued to the Environment Ministry to expeditiously consider the proposal which the Delhi government would send and to release the funds needed for the process.
The Delhi government in a status report, placed before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar has said that the estimated cost of trapping and sterilising around 25,000 monkeys would be Rs 23.5 crore.
The Delhi government, represented by additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal, also told the court that the estimated cost was sent to the Environment Ministry which has asked for modification of the amount as it was on the higher side.
The ministry, represented by central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj, said it will release initial installment of the funds as soon as it receives the proposal.
The Delhi government, thereafter, told the bench that it has floated a tender inviting for trapping and sterilization of the monkeys. It said the bids would be opened on July 24 and thereafter, it will send its proposal to the ministry.
The bench directed all the authorities to expedite the process, saying "it is a growing problem".
"It cannot be denied that problem is only aggravating with each passing day. The growth in monkey population will not wait for testing of the oral vaccine for sterilising simians," the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on July 30.
Regarding the Centre's reservation over the estimated cost, the bench said that had the ministry taken preventive steps back in 2001 when a PIL on the issue was filed, then the expenditure on the project would not be so high.
The court had also pulled up the Centre for importing oral immune-contraception vaccines for testing on monkeys without getting approvals for carrying out the sterilisation trials.
NGO Wildlife SOS had earlier told the court that monkey population rapidly increases in urban areas due to the easy access to food as compared to forest areas where they have to forage for food.
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