by Pankaj Yadav
NEW DELHI, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world situated in northern India, has been plagued by monkey menace these days, as incidents of attacks or bites by the animals are on the rise and local authorities unable to find a lasting solution.
Local authorities have not been able to curb the menace as tourists, both from India and abroad, are being attacked by monkeys and questions raised about the inability of the authorities and the management to secure the heritage monument properly.
Only a week ago, a French female tourist was brutally attacked by a monkey inside the Taj Mahal premises, confirmed a local district official, adding that such incidents are reported every other day.
According to the official, the problem has been there for quite some time but lately it gained bigger dimension as the number of monkeys has multiplied and they get hardly any stuff to eat.
"Inside the Taj Mahal premises one can't walk freely as there is always a danger of being attacked by gangs of monkeys. A few such incidents are reported every week," said Dirender Singh Yadav, a local scribe in Agra, the city where the "monument of love" made of white marble is located.
Agra Tourist Welfare Chamber's president Prahlad Agarwal told Xinhua that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the concerned agency authorised and tasked to maintain the upkeep of the monument, has totally failed in tackling the menace of monkeys.
"We regularly raise the menace in every meeting we have with the ASI and other officials, and urge them to find a lasting solution but they haven't yielded yet. Tourists, including the foreigners, are attacked by apes every other day. This is a matter of grave concern and a concrete action plan to check the menace is the need of the hour," added Agarwal.
The India Today quoted Agra Tourism Guild chairman Arun Dang as saying that the ASI, state government, Agra administration and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), tasked to provide security inside and outside the monument, are responsible for this mess. He demanded immediate action as this was hurting tourism in the city.
According to Dang, the Taj Mahal was earning a bad name because of the monkey attacks.
The monument attracts around eight million visitors annually, with more than 0.8 million from overseas. Most tourists visit it during the months of October to February.