Snake catcher
Snake catcher|Sarpmitra in identity and financial crisis
Deshdoot Times

Sarpmitra in identity and financial crisis

Urge for safety and security from govt

Gaurav Pardeshi

Gaurav Pardeshi


With the onset of monsoon, snakes are starting to come out. The Sarpmitra or snake handlers in city have expressed their grief that the forest department does not give any facilities and honorarium for these Sarpamitra who catch snakes regardless of their own lives, expressed senior snake handle of Nashik Manish Godbole.

In city like Nashik, which is close to rural as well as forest lands, If a snake is found in a colony or society premises, after calling a snake handler, he goes to the relevant place and catches the snake and informs the citizens about the species of the snake caught.

It is then given to the forest department office. The main problem is that the forest department office is open from 10 am to 5 pm, so at other times, snake handlers have to face difficulties in registering snakes.

After that, the snake handlers want to take the snake out of the city and release it on his own. The time and transportation cost has to be borne by the snake handlers out of his own pocket, so they have to face financial difficulties.

Overseas, snake handlers are paid a monthly stipend by the forest department in Africa, Australia and some Asian countries, who solve the problem of their livelihood.

However, in Maharashtra, this service is being provided free of cost by the snake handlers, said a snake handler while talking to Deshdoot. At present, there are also snake handlers in Nashik with partial knowledge.

Senior Sarpamitra Godbole suggested that if the government conducts a written and practical competition for professional snake handlers, the information about snakes will reach to the people.

The most important factor for the society is the recognition to snake handlers, but this is the only factor that has been ignored by the forest department. The real question is what about safety and livelihood of snake handler?, Godbole asked.

"I have been working as a snake handler for the last 30 years. It is a pity that snake handlers are not getting any honorarium from the forest department and no insurance has been taken out by the government. The forest department needs to look into this issue seriously.
Manish Godbole, Sarpamitra
The forest department gives special recognition to the snake handlers with our initiative 'Sarpmitra' or 'Snake Handler’. It recognises them as trained snake handlers and they have permission to catch snake in any such snake related emergency. We provide them necessary equipments on their demand. There are no any other facilities provided by the forest department or government.
Tushar Chavan, Dy Conservator of Forest, Nashik East division