A staff of Allied Pest Control takes a look at his dead enemy on Tatanagar station premises on Sunday. (Animesh Sengupta)
A-category Tatanagar, plagued by rodent menace, has finally found its own Pied Piper.
The Chakradharpur railway division has roped in Allied Pest Control, a New-Delhi based agency, to purge the station premises of rats.
The private firm has bagged a tender of Rs 8 lakh to keep the junction free of the menace for three years.
Specialists from the agency started work on Saturday and have already realised that they are up against a formidable enemy.
“We have never seen such an army of rodents anywhere. There may be over 30,000 rats on the station premises, some of them weighing over 2kg. In the past 24 hours, we managed to kill more than 200 rats,” said Sunil Jha, who is supervising the drive.
Jha added that the rodents were notorious inside the parcel office, coaching yard and waiting halls. “We are using glue pads and anti-rodent pills to kill the intruders,” Jha said, promising that within another two weeks, they would make the station rat-free.
The advent of the rodent fighters has brought relief for both passengers and station employees.
“Thank God, the railway authorities have roped in an agency to fight the rodents,” a canteen staff said, adding that they were tired of saving grains from the nibbling nemesis. “They devour raw chawal (paddy) and dal (pulses), and even poison cooked food. We were simply fed-up and frustrated,” he said.
Tatanagar station, which witnesses a daily passenger footfall of 70,000 and hosts more than 80 express, mail and passenger trains, has seven retiring rooms, one 30-bed dormitory and six officers’ resting rooms. All these facilities and the canteen are on the first floor of the two-storey station complex and most vulnerable to rodent attacks. Rats often damage telephone wires and electrical gadgets, leading to a disruption in communication.
A rodent attack damaged the luggage of one S.K. Debnath, who was staying at the station dormitory last week. “I have seen rats on tracks and platforms. That is understandable because passengers litter trains and tracks. But rats the size of rabbits in the dormitory are frightening. They give you sleepless nights,” recalled Debnath.
Station manager Awtar Singh said that the move was taken in the wake of complaints about rat menace. “We received several reports of rodents wreaking havoc in retiring rooms and at the dormitory. So, we decided to hire the services of the private agency,” said Singh.