The Pied Piper of Hamlin did it with his magic flute. One of Madhya Pradesh’s biggest hospitals is attempting the same with a five-star menu which includes prawn, aloo-bada, samosa, kachori, ghee and even peanuts.
The question is: Will the rats inhabiting Indore’s Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital nibble on the delicacies laced with poison?
Faced with a rodent population estimated at over 10,000 and growing, the hospital authorities have hired a private firm to get rid of the menace.
So much so that the hospital has even named the entire exercise ‘Operation Kayakalp’ which will be carried out by the private firm Laxmi Fumigation and Pest Control Limited (LFPL).
While the company has given a guarantee of making the hospital rat-free for the next five years, the administration has made it clear that a penalty would be charged on the company if it fails in living up to its promise.
"We will be carrying out a check and maintenance every year. It is our assurance that no rats would be found in the hospital. The mission would be a success," said Sanjay G Karmarkar, chairman and managing director of LFPL.
The food would be served to the rats from October 4 after which the fumigation process would begin.
Confident of making the entire premises rodent-free, divisional commissioner Sanjay Dubey said, "We have taken every possible step and precaution to ensure that the project continues to work for five years. The company has been made responsible and with some local cooperation from the hospital staff the project will be a hit."
In 1994 the same company had attempted to rid the hospital of all rats and cockroaches. The hospital was closed down for nearly a month and thousands of rats were killed.
However, this time round, the hospital won't be closed and the fumigation exercise would be carried out ward-wise and the patients of the affected wards would be shifted to other wards during the operation.
There were allegations of corruption during the earlier campaign as the rodent population could not be wiped out.
In the legend of Hamlim, the pied piper had got rid of the entire rodent population in the German town by luring them into a river. The rats were said to have been drawn by the sound of his flute.
The company, incidentally, has a back-up plan. If the poisoned food fails to kill all rats, they will set traps, sources said.
The 950-bed MY Hospital, set up in 1995, is one of the state’s biggest government-run healthcare facilities and serves over 1100 outdoor patients every day.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Menu prepared for rats