A serious debate in the Rajya Sabha on alleged destruction of files by the Home Ministry on Monday witnessed some lighter moments when a Congress member shared with the House his experiences on "simian trouble" in the corridors of power.
While attacking the government for destroying 11,100 files under the Home Ministry, former minister Rajeev Shukla (Congress) apportioned part of the blame on monkeys by speaking of how simians, a menace in the North and South Blocks, routinely "walked away" with important files strewn all over corridors of ministries housed in these two power centres.
The issue raised by Shukla injected some light moments into the House bringing smiles even to the face of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was sitting in the opposition benches.
"Files in the Home Ministry are in such a bad condition that old files are strewn all over the corridors. Whenever a file is lost, it is said that monkeys have taken it away. There is a big monkey menace there and in this government there is a minister who is against any action against monkeys," he said.
He said there is such a menace of monkeys in the North Block that there is no proper arrangement of keeping files and whenever a file was lost the blame was put on monkeys and sought proper measures to check the menace and protect important files.
Noting that important files in the Home Ministry are thrown in the corridors, Shukla questioned whether there is any arrangement in place for protecting important files when it is said that monkeys have taken away the files.
"This monkey issue is very significant. When Manmohan Singh was finance minister, you can ask, ministers had to face a lot of problems entering the ministry. One had to stand there with sticks in hand and 'langurs' had to be hired to ward off monkeys," he said as Singh, who was sitting in the opposition benches, could not control his smile.
Shukla said the ministry has to spend lakhs on hiring of 'langurs' in protecting the files and ministry officials that the BJP-led NDA government has ministers who are protecting monkeys.