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EVEN after two rounds of advertisements seeking local organisations for killing of rats in the neighborhood, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has failed to get proper response in 18 of the 24 wards in the city.
Despite amending the advertisements, the civic body has received responses from three or more agencies in six wards only, including three in the city zone and the remaining in the eastern suburbs. The insecticide department will subsequently conduct a lottery in the six wards. In June, the civic body had taken up the initiative of putting out advertisements for getting a minimum of three responses from each of the 24 wards.
As per the tender, the agencies will be given a target of killing rats, ranging between 100 to 200, depending on the size of the ward. However after the poor response the first time, the officials of the insecticide department decided to introduce some changes in the prescribed conditions.
“We increased the rate of each rat from Rs 10 to Rs 18 as per standards of minimum wages. Agencies had communicated that they were reluctant since there was no transportation to bring the rats to Parel on a daily basis, We, thus, decided to provide them vehicles to bring the dead rats for counting, every morning. Even then we got a poor response,” said insecticide officer Rajan Naringrekar.
Despite the changes, the civic body received responses from only 38 agencies of Swachch Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyaan (SMBA) across the city. There was no response from populated wards in the western suburbs, including H-West, K-West, P North and R North. Only one agency in A ward responded. More than three agencies responded from G South, F North, E, L, M East and N wards.
“The areas in the western suburbs are huge and perhaps local agencies are doubtful of meeting the given target. There is a penalty if the agency is unable to meet the target,” said another civic official. The official added that bidding in 18 wards would now start, seeking responses from all non-government or government organisations, instead of just SMBA.
Currently, the city wards have 29 night rat killers who work on a contractual basis with the BMC and have a target of killing a minimum 30 rats per night.
With attempts to outsource the work to agencies, officials said the night rat killers now had a chance to be absorbed as permanent employees in vacancies for other civic work profiles, depending on their performance over a period of five years.
The growing population of rats in the city has left footpaths and buildings damaged. It poses a serious health hazard to people since they are one of the carriers of the leptospirosis bacteria, especially during rains. After the rats are killed, their carcasses are taken to the Municipal Rat Destruction unit in
Parel where they are checked for signs of plague. They are later taken to the Deonar dumping ground and buried in a pit.