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Una-Hoshiarpur road turns into polythene dump

 The 8-km-long stretch of the Una-Hoshiarpur road in the Bankhandi area of the district is full of polythene bags at places, mostly bread wrappers. These are thrown on the road by people after feeding monkeys.

Besides loaves of bread, people purchase roasted Bengal grams, biscuits, sweets and bananas from roadside vends that have mushroomed at both ends of Bankhandi, including Pandoga barrier in Una district and Chak Sadhu barrier in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab.

Tuesdays and Saturdays are special days as monkeys line up on both sides of the road, looking impatiently at each passing vehicle. Despite a ban on feeding monkeys, almost every bus that crosses the area, waits for a few minutes till all bread and eatables have been hurled towards the monkeys by passengers and out go the empty wrappers at the next turn.

Despite the fact that there is a police post and a Forest Department check post at the Pandoga barrier and another at Chak Sadhu in Punjab, there is nobody to check the illegal practice, while heaps of bread and other stuff are being fed to the monkeys in front of the law-enforcing agencies.

The light material is gradually finding its way from the roadsides to the forest areas through wind and water. This is posing a great risk to the forest ecosystem, including flora and fauna, besides causing irreversible damage to the groundwater seepage system. This non-degradable material ultimately finds entry into the main water channels in the forest.

With plenty of easily accessible food, comes quick breeding. When the monkey population becomes unsustainable in the area, groups migrate to human settlements in search of food.


 June 11, 2014, The Tribune