Kathmandu, May 5: The ongoing lockdown has not only hit the livelihoods of the people but has also left the monkeys and birds at Pashupatinath without food. The animals and the birds used to depend on the devotees for their sustenance. But since the devotees stopped coming because of the lockdown, the creatures had also been going hungry. Taking this into consideration, the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has now taken on their responsibility, ensuring that no soul goes hungry at this holy site. “We feed the monkeys twice a day, in the morning from 8 AM to 9 AM and in the evening from 3 PM to 4 PM,” said Milan Kumar Thapa, PADT treasurer. “We have been feeding them 300 dozen bananas and 300 kilograms of food made from flour.” He further informed, “We feed 350 kilograms of grains to the pigeons every day.” The Trust feeds more than 5,000 monkeys of the area and 10,000 pigeons every day. With regard to the pigeons, PADT has called for a tender of Rs 2.5 million to manage their feeding by developing an area with small trees and fence. “It will also add beauty to the temple area and attract the tourists,” Thapa said. Feeding the animals doesn’t fall under the scope of the Trust’s usual work and hence, it has not allocated budget under this heading. But now, according to Thapa, PADT was preparing to set aside certain amount for this purpose so that it could provide food to the creatures on a regular basis. “PADT is not only for the pious people who visit this temple but also for the animals and birds that live here,” he said. In the past, there were dedicated Guthis for the feeding of the monkeys and the birds. These Guthis used to sustain on the income from their lands. But these lands, and the Guthis they supported have now disappeared. Dr Govinda Tandon, former member-secretary of PADT, informed of one such plot of land provided by Bhutu Pandey. He had donated around 31 ropanis of land of Balaju area to support the feeding of monkeys. “To provide and care for the animals in the long run, the government needs to identify and bring such land under the proper system,” he demanded. He said that the new land management system had damaged and dismantled the old Guthis which were very effective, important and systematic means of feeding the animals, and managing various festivals. “Some animal rights organisations have been feeding animals in various areas which is encouraging but the local, state and federal governments need to introduce a long-term strategy to arrange food for the animals,” he stressed.