Amid mounting complains of monkeys and dogs attacking people on AIIMS premises, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has suggested that a place be demarcated where people can eat food as leftovers strewn on the campus attract these animals.
The minister also invited suggestions from the resident doctor association over the issue.
President of the resident doctors association of the AIIMS, Harjit Singh Bhatti, had written to the Union Women and Child Development minister seeking her intervention in keeping patients and staff safe from dogs and monkeys at the institute’s premises.
In the letter, Mr Bhatti stated that there has been a steep increase in the number of dogs and monkeys in hospital premises and that the patients are being attacked by them on a regular basis.
In her response, Ms Gandhi said she was distressed to know that dogs and monkeys have increased in the campus and offered to provide the help of NGOs to deal with the dogs by sterilizing and vaccinating them.
However, she said the same cannot be done with monkeys as this has no effect on their behaviour. In fact it makes them more aggressive as they get separated from their troop.
“The basic problem in AIIMS is the easy availability of food. If this is strictly monitored then all these animals will disappear overnight. Otherwise we can keep removing dogs and monkeys but they will be replaced overnight by new groups. Is it possible for you to do anything about the food?,” she asked.
She suggested demarcating areas where people can eat and closed dustbins where leftover food and wrappers can be thrown.
She also suggested that an audio message be played through loudspeakers telling people the dangers of sharing food with animals and throwing food on the premises.
“They can be asked to eat at a particular place. I suggest you think about this and come up with doable ideas. Then I would be happy to have the meeting at your premises or at my office and call all the people necessary to help you.
“AIIMS is one of the best and most necessary institutions in India. I would be happy to do anything to make it safer,” she said in her letter.
According to the RDA’s letter, around 3-4 persons (including patients, doctors, student, professors) per day and around 100 persons per month are bitten by these animals and receive anti-rabies vaccine from the emergency medicine department.
Doctors had complained about the persistent dog and monkey problem on the premises when the Union Women and Child Development minister was admitted to the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences in June last year.