Residents of the Mangal Talab area in the Patna City were in for a shock on Sunday morning when worms gushed out with water from taps in their homes. Mistaking them for snakes, the horrified residents raised an alarm and panic spread in the area.
Experts later identified the reptilian creatures as a species of harmless earthworms never been found in Bihar before. (See graphics)
The expert opinion was, however, a far cry when Shashikant Mishra, a resident of the area, went to take bath at 7am. I had just turned on the tap when I saw thin ropes come out of it and fall into the bucket with the water. As there was no power and my bathroom is quite dark, I took the bucket out to check what it was. To my horror, I saw the snake-like creatures in the bucket, he said.
Mishra added: I cried out in alarm, thinking what would have happened if I had poured the water on my body. These creatures looked like earthworms but they had no segments in their body. They were also quite long. So, I thought they must be some kind of underground snake.
Twenty-year-old Vidya, another resident of the area, did not believe that wormy creatures had come out of a tap in her house when her mother told her about it in the morning. But when I saw the thread-like creatures around 20-25cm in length wriggling in the bucket, I ran out of bathroom screaming. It was scary, she told The Telegraph later.
The horror show at the homes of Vidya and Mishra were not isolated incidents. Of the 200 houses in the area, residents of at least 50 reported the arrival of unwanted serpentine guests in their homes. Many of them gathered at a Kali temple in the neighbour- hood to share their maca- bre experiences.
Some claimed that the water supply pipeline in the area, which runs parallel to a big drain, had leaks at some places and the snakes had slipped in through the cracks. They called up the councillor of ward no. 62, Shiv Kumar, who hurriedly reported to the call of his electorate and visited a number of tenements in the area.
It is a matter of grave concern. I shudder to think what would have happened if someone had accidentally consumed the worms with the water, he said.
The newly elected councillor promised to raise the matter with senior officers of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Bihar Rajya Jal Parshad (BRJP).
Kumar said: I could not pursue the matter with the senior civic officers as it is Sunday today. I shall meet the senior officers tomorrow (Monday) with the residents of the locality and ask them to address the issue.
Mayor Afzal Imam, a resident of the Patna City area, told The Telegraph: I have heard about it (worms coming out with water). It is dreadful. I will go and see what exactly happened there. I will also take PMC commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pal along.