Monkey menace in Dergaon makes farmers’ lives miserable


Dergaon: Known for its Police Training College, Dergaon is now making news for its monkey business (read menace). Well, for now, we can call it that. Residents of Dergaon in Golaghat district of Assam are having a tough time living under spells of monkey attacks on their farmlands and homes.

Numerous groups of monkeys, sometimes in hundreds, have made life miserable for the people of this area. The most affected are the paddy farmers and those trying to plant seasonal vegetables. Due to the nuisance of monkeys, the local residents have given up planting crops within the village.

The monkeys also enter the houses and eat and destroy whatever they find. This monkey business has become a nuisance for the local residents of Dergaon. The residents have been protesting since 2014 and are unhappy as the forest department has done nothing to help them save their crops. The scale of monkey attacks is such that the people have taken out protests on the streets with banners and placards, demanding sacking of forest officials.

“We don’t mind monkeys but thousands of them is not something we want. We are not residents of reserved forest. These are our ancestral properties and I urge the government to take necessary action so that humans and monkeys can survive together,” said a local.

The farmers are using various methods to keep the monkeys away. They now have resorted to wearing masks to scare these monkeys away from their fields. During the day, large group of monkeys dwell on these paddy fields. They destroy the crops by eating the grains and plucking the young plants out.

Villagers have these masks that they wear to scare the monkeys. They also use handmade catapults to scare the beasts away, but to little success. These simians have found new ways to attack the crops.

Losing paddy crops can be very disheartening for the farmers, as it means loss of crop and months of hard labour. The monkeys have also ruined sugarcane farming in some areas. This is an economic threat for the farmers as their crops are under attack.

“We wear these masks to scare them away. They have destroyed all of rabi crops. There is nothing inside the village,” said one of the farmers who was wearing a mask.

“We have to keep a watch round the clock during the day. They don’t get scared easily by the masks and keep on returning. It is very tiring for us as we have to start pushing them out of the fields every morning,” said another farmer.