The BMC’s aim to expand efforts to curb the population of rats in the city has not met with much success since there has been little or no response to related advertisements that the insecticide department put out last month in the city’s administrative wards. The BMC will put out a fresh advertisement, this week, and hopes to get at least three responses from each of the 24 wards.
Currently, the BMC employs 28 persons to kill rats and they operate only in the Island city and work with a target of killing a minimum of 30 rats per night. Considering the shortfall of staff and the growing population of rats, in December 2015, the BMC had decided to outsource the job to agencies and include the long-neglected suburban areas.
Officials from the insecticide department said that applications from a minimum of three agencies would be required as back-up. “We have increased the rates in the modified contracts and we will give the agencies a daily target of killing 100 to 200 rats, depending on the size of the ward. However, if they are unable to meet the target for three months in a row, the contract will be terminated and the agency on the waiting list will be appointed,” said the official.
However, since putting out the advertisements from May 10, the insecticide department has only received 24 responses from certain wards, till June 8. “We haven’t received much response. However, we will ensure that all the 24 wards are covered and will get the work started at the earliest,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Idzes Kundan. There was no response from 12 wards, including the densely populated ones, like D and K west, and only a single response from eight other wards.
Apart from operating in the city, the agencies will also venture on to railway tracks after 1 am. The official from the insecticide department said that the agencies would be monitored on a daily basis and the number of dead rats would be counted every morning at 7 am. If the agency failed to meet the target, a proportionate amount would be deducted from the payment, added the official. “We will be very strict about the targets. As per the revised conditions, if the agencies bring in less than 50 rats, no payment will be given,” the official said.
The large population of rats in the city damage footpaths, buildings and other properties as they burrow and eat through telephone lines.
They also pose a serious health hazard to people since they are one of the carriers of the leptospirosis bacteria, especially during the monsoons.
One of the ways of killing rats involves stuffing poison down their burrows. However, the people employed to kill rats opt for a more popular method of shining a flashlight into a rat’s eyes and then whacking it on the head or stabbing it with a metal-tipped pole.
The carcasses of the rats are then taken to the Municipal Rat Destruction unit in Parel where a sample is checked for plague. They are then taken to the Deonar dumping ground and buried in a pit.