‘Monkey-catcher’ serving forest department seeks government job

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A 32-year-old farmer from Aurangabad district in Maharashtra who has been helping the forest department in catching crop-destroying monkeys and langurs for over a decade now, has sought for a state government job to save these animals.

Samadhan Giri, a veteran in the work he loves, has been seen visiting the Mantralaya frequently over the last five to six years, to make a pitch for his case.

Armed with newspaper clippings about his work of catching monkeys and releasing them in jungles, the farmer is yet to land a job of his liking in the forest department.

“I have been assisting the forest department to catch monkeys and langurs who cause damage to crops and human lives since I was 15 years old. The forest department does not have any infrastructure to nab the animals without harming them. Most of the time, the monkeys are shot dead,” said Giri.

After the new government took over, Giri visited Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar to press for his demand for a government job.

However, since the minister was busy with meetings, Giri said he gave his representation to the minister’s office. “I want a government job to save the monkeys and I can travel across the state. The demand for job is not for money. I would be happy with a stipend of Rs. 1,000 per month,” Giri says.

He said he had met Patangrao Kadam, Abdul Sattar, ministers in the previous government with recommendation from Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) that instead of taking his services for each case, he be regularised in government service.

“The CCF told the government that vehicle, cage, travel expenses amount to Rs. 35-40,000 per case. Instead, he be given monthly payment of Rs. 12,000 as he is well versed with the art of luring the monkeys in a cage without harming them,” Giri said.

Giri is a resident of Ambai village in Sillod Taluka of Aurangabad and has caught 25,000 monkeys so far. He said due to drought conditions, there is shortage of water in jungles which makes these animals come out of their habitats.

“There have been instances in places like Kannad and Jintur in Marathwada region where the monkeys have hurt local residents,” he said.

Giri, who has studied upto XII, says he has not been able to look after his farming because he has to travel across the state all the time after receiving calls from forest department to help them catch monkeys who run riot in fields and homes in different villages.