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Monkey menace leads to closure of Baitadi schools



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By Gokarna Dayal, Baitadi, Oct. 8: Believe it or not, monkey menace has led to the closure of five schools of Dasharathchand Municipality in Baitadi district.

Chief of the education department of the municipality Moshan Nath informed that the schools were closed due to the lack of students.

“There are not enough students in the schools after locals in wards 5, 6, 8 and 10 fled villages as monkeys destroyed everything they grew in the farms,” said Nath.

Ranashaini Basic School in Ward No. 8, which had only six students and eight teachers, has been merged with Jagdamba Secondary School after the villagers affected by monkeys migrated to safer places.

Jagannath Basic School in Ward No. 6, Tripurasundari Basic School in Ward No. 8, Shantiprakash Basic School in Ward No. 10 and Gyaneshwor Basic School in Ward No. 10 have also been merged with other schools as they faced similar problems.

While the families able to afford migration opted to leave the villages, there are still some which have been living despite facing the problems unleashed by the monkeys. The children of those families are attending Rajkiya School, which is in Jhulaghat area of Pithoragarh district in India.

“With the schools of our villages closed, we are bound to go to the school across the border. It is easier for students like me who live nearby the Nepal-India border,” said Deewan Bista, a local student.

A Nepali student, who was returning from a school at Jhulalghat, India, said that he did not know the national anthem of Nepal.

“Since the number of students was not enough, Gyaneshwor Basic School merged with Daneshwor Secondary School. Because of that, 15 students of our Sangdi village go across the border for study,” said Raghubir Thapa, a local.

Dasharathchand Municipality officials informed that hundreds of families from wards 5, 6, 8 and 10 have left their villages because of fear of herds of monkeys that parade in their farms.

Hundreds of monkeys have been destroying crops of the farmers. The monkeys also enter the houses and wreak havoc inside.

Tekram Tamata, Chandri Tamata, and Shivaram Tamata, among many others, fled Dhaulyali village in Ward No. 8 after they failed to keep anything in the farm and at home safe from the simians.

Likewise, several families from Sangdi and Pujargaun villages in Ward No. 8, Pallachaudali village in Ward No. 5, Bhatala, Jhaka, Budda, Khadeni and Tir villages in Ward No.10 have left.

“Hundreds of monkeys of Haridwar are brought and left stranded near the Nepal-India border in Jhulaghat following which they enter the villages in Nepal and create problems for the farmers. A total of 20 families from Budda village left the village. I have also abandoned agriculture occupation for two years due to the monkeys,” said Manju Chand, a local health volunteer.

With villagers leaving and schools being closed, the municipality officials informed that they were looking for measures to control the terror unleashed by the monkeys.

“We allocated a budget of Rs. 1 million and brought a machine used to chase the monkeys, but it didn’t work. We are looking for other options and are in discussions with respective authorities,” said Masna Chand, Deputy Mayor of Dasharathchand Municipality.