As if the number of rodents at MY Hospital wasn't enough, a protest by the sadhu community against a rat kill drive is giving sleepless nights to the health department.
The sadhus, headed by one Computer Baba, have issued a statement against the burning of dead rats. They feel that the rats, like cows and snakes, hold a lot of religious value. The sadhus are of the opinion that these rodents should be caught and left in either jungle or some other deserted place.
A wide dissent amongst the sadhu community was visible as several of them assembled at the Hanuman Mandir at Jinsi in the city to protest against the health department's movement. Computer Baba said on Thursday that if the entire process doesn't stop within 24 hours, their community will take strict action against the move.
It is being alleged that the LFPL, the company that is carrying out the rodent control mission at the MY Hospital, is faking out figures related to rats and in reality the number of rats killed is comparatively less.
Divisional commissioner Sanjay Dubey said, "We have kept the entire system very transparent. Every day, we are recording everything on video, the media is invited; if they want they can count the number. We also ensure that rats are burned the same day so that any loophole of storing them cannot be done."
Dubey said four stages would be carried out to make the entire premises rodent-free. "We will be killing the rats by poisoning the bait for four days. Then comes the fumigation process in which toxic gas would be pumped into their holes. To ensure that none of the rats are left alive we will then proceed with the excavation of the entire land. Traps and regular monitoring would also be done," said Dubey.
However, with an approximate population of 10,000 rats being expected on the premises, the figure of 2,200 rats has also become a basis to question the success of the operation. "The entire programme will roughly run for a month. We haven't paid the company any money. If they are found at fault, we do know what to do," summed up Dubey.