A snake-charmer let loose a number snakes in a government office of a small Uttar Pradesh town to shake-up lethargic government officials, who would not respond to repeated requests for allotment of a small piece of land to him to set up a serpentarium.
The incident was reported from Haraiya town of Basti district, about 200 km from Lucknow, on Tuesday. "A snake-charmer identified as Hakkul had applied for allotment of a plot of land on the outskirts of the town to run a serpentarium; but in the absence of any provision for allotment of land for such a business, we could not give any reply to them", Subhash Mani Tripathi, the local Tehsildar said.
"Instead of seeking a written reply, which we would have issued, Hakkul created panic in our offices by letting loose a bunch of snakes all over the office," he said.
"Scared employees as well as the public went running for their lives," he added.
Hakkul told mediapersons,"I am a conservationist of snakes and have been seeking the government's help to provide me a place where I could create a serpentarium for them. I wrote to the President from whom I got a letter of recommendation for the district magistrate who promised to allot a small plot of government land free of cost for the purpose."
He added, "However, two years have passed since then and the local administration has simply been dilly-dallying on the issue because I refused to bribe them after having waited patiently for so long, I had no option but to leave all my snakes in that very office."
State laws have provision for free allotment of government land to poor to earn their livelihood.According to the police, "Nearly three dozen snakes have been captured so far and we have engaged local snake-charmers to look for any more in or around the land revenue office."