SRINAGAR, December 13: Cat-sized rats have literally invaded the city of Jammu.
People are desperately looking for the proverbial Pied Piper to defeat the rodent army in Jammu’s old town
Sensing the crisis, RTI activist Raman Sharma has sent SOS to the authorities, demanding immediate action to rid the old town of rodents.
“Ask any Old Town resident about the damage these rats have caused, everyone has a sad story to tell. From damaging clothing to contaminating food, and from damaging goods in warehouses to tearing down plinths, the rats have made life a living hell for the old townspeople,” Sharma told The Kashmir Monitor.
Most of the buildings in the old town are incompatible with modern architecture. The drainage system is very old. In fact, the old town turns out to be a haven for rats as they have created enough burrows to live in.
“There is an uncontrolled population of rodents. The situation has gotten so bad that now rats not only destroy the alleys and drains, but are also responsible for damaging the foundations of the houses in the narrow streets of the old town. They have created caves in pedestals. We fear that our houses could collapse. The old structures in particular are vulnerable,” said Sharma.
Rats have been at the heart of the problem in Jammu in recent years. In 2011, after a public outcry, the Jammu Municipal Corporation used over 65,000 doses of rodent control pills to kill the city’s rats.
Official figures show that in 2011, 35,230 doses of rodent repellant were used to kill rats. The following year, 30700 doses were used to combat the rodent threat.
“The situation has reached alarming proportions. Shopkeepers are struggling to find a solution. It is imperative that the Jammu Municipal Corporation takes a leadership role and adopts a scientific method to control the rat population in the old town,” Sharma said.
Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) Mayor Rajinder Sharma told The Kashmir Monitor that people should avoid throwing leftover food in and by the alleys.
“The rats feed on the leftovers. We need people to change their behavior. We created awareness. We should cook as much food as we can consume. Disposing of waste is not good. Rats feed on this waste. A change in attitude is required,” he said.