Bandicoot rats regarded a pest across the country destroyed paddy in 70 acres in Panchmahals district by causing a breach in a canal,which is part of the Sujalam Sufalam Yojana (SSY),late on Saturday. SSY is a government scheme to supply water to villages and smaller towns in the state.
Engineers from the neighbouring Divda Colony,the site of Kadana Dam,rushed to spot at Chori village near Virpur and found small holes dug by the rodents across a section of the mud embankments causing a 20-metre long breach of the canal,inundating the fields with 1,000 cuses of water.
D N Thakore,a Deputy Engineer with the Irrigation Department in Kadana,Government of Gujarat,said: Smaller breaches happen regularly because of the holes these rats dig along the banks of the canals. In this case,there were several holes,which led to the breach last night. The water damaged paddy in about 70 acres of land.
Panchmahals District Collector Milind Torwane said the percolation along the non-concrete section of the canal led to the breach. The flow of the water has stopped now. It will take about two days for our team to repair the breach, said Torwane. District officials said this was the first time that such a breach in a Sujalam Sufalam canal has occurred. This is the second time that rodents have caused a breach in an irrigation canal in Gujarat.
A high-level committee probing the Narmada Canal breach in Mehsana of June 2008 had stated in its report that rats had gnawed the walls of the canal leading to the breach.