Wednesday July 17, 2019
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Catapults To Protect Tourists At The Taj From Simian Attacks

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors.

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The Taj Mahal attracts not only foreign, but domestic tourists too; Source: Pixabay

Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

A group of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers are now seen with catapults and not licensed arms for use against terrorists and anti-social elements.

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors, tourist guide Ved Gautam told IANS.

Almost daily a monkey bite case is being reported. Last month, the number of victims was 16. The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) has put up notice boards at several places warning tourists of monkeys.

taj mahal
Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

At 15 points, CISF personnel armed with catapults are ready to take slingshots at the simians who have turned ferocious.

“When they see a catapult aimed against them, the monkeys flee full speed for safety,” a trooper said.

CISF Commandant Braj Bhushan Singh said his men had been given catapults to scare away the monkeys and make tourists feel safe inside the Taj Mahal premises.

A number of plans have been drawn up by various government agencies including the Agra Municipal Corporation after a monkey snatched a baby from a mother’s lap and killed it some two months ago.

Catapults made of plastic and rubber were selling Rs 10 a piece but are now the price has gone up to Rs 20 due to increasing demand all over the city.

Vegetable vendors, temple security staff, shopkeepers and domestic servants are buying catapults.

TAJ MAHAL
Catapults to save tourists at the Taj from simian attacks

According to a rough estimate, the number of monkeys in the Agra city area is around 50,000.

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“Such a big population of simians can neither be provided for nor shifted as there are no forests left. Usually they return to urban areas even if they are transported to remote areas,” said an animal husbandry expert.

“The problem was earlier confined to Mathura and Vrindavan, but now they are all over the Agra city,” said Shravan Kumar Singh, a green activist.

Meanwhile, Naresh Kadyan, Chairman of the National Animal Welfare Party, has protested against the arming of CISF personnel with catapults. He has lodged a complaint with the union Environment and Forest Ministry citing provisions of the Wildlife Act. (IANS)

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Taj Mahal: Honey Bees at Historical Monument Alarm Tourists

A proposal with estimates of expenditure is pending at the headquarters for some months

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Though many complaints have been lodged by the visitors in the past, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not taken the threat seriously. Pixabay

Honey bees at the iconic Taj Mahal and other historical monuments in the city continue to alarm tourists.

Though many complaints have been lodged by the visitors in the past, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not taken the threat seriously, according to the tourist guides.

ASI sources said that a proposal with estimates of expenditure is pending at the headquarters for some months.

A local resident has even complained to the Ministry of Culture, demanding the immediate removal of beehives at the Taj which pose a threat to the safety of tourists.

Taj Mahal, Honey Bees, Historical
Honey bees at the iconic Taj Mahal and other historical monuments in the city continue to alarm tourists. Pixabay

Tourist guide Ved Gautam told IANS that beehives have always been there but precautionary measures were taken to ensure the safety of the visitors.

The one at the Mehmankhana (guest house) on the east side of Taj Mahal has always been there, as also the one at the entrance gate of Akbar’s tomb, Gautam said.

Old timers recalled several attacks by bees, which caused panic. Only last year, bees attacked visitors at the royal gate entrance to the Taj Mahal.

“Bees attack only when there is serious provocation from someone. In normal circumstances, they mind their own business,” a retired ASI staffer said.

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Not just bees, dogs and monkeys also continue to be a major nuisance at the Taj. Few days ago, photos of stray dogs loitering in the Taj were widely circulated on social media. Last year, there was a huge controversy over some CISF personnel being given catapult training to shoo away the simians. (IANS)