Railways faces heat after RTI reply on 'rodent control'; Congress alleges corruption
The Lucknow division of the Northern Railway spent ₹69.5 lakh to catch rats in two years, according to the reply to an RTI application.
The Congress on Sunday alleged corruption in the Indian Railways after a recent Right to Information (RTI) query revealed that the Lucknow division of the Northern Railways spent ₹69.5 lakh between 2020 and 2022 "to catch rats”.
In response to the RTI application filed by activist Chandrashekhar Gaur, the Lucknow division said the expenses over these two years amounted to around ₹69 lakh and 168 rats were caught - if equated per rat, it comes out to be about ₹41,000.
Reacting to the RTI reply, Rajya Sabha MP Randeep Singh Surjewala took to X and wrote, “Railways spent ₹41,000 and six days in catching a rat! By spending a total of ₹69.40 lakh, 156 rats were caught in 3 years! This is the condition of the Lucknow region alone.”
"All over the country, the ‘rats of corruption’ are picking people's pockets every day… Result: Under BJP rule, people are hit by rampant inflation every day. Even the concession given to the elderly in rail fares has been eaten away! Still, he says - ‘Neither will I eat nor will I let you eat ..’ !" he added.
Read the response to the RTI query
₹23,16,150.84 has been spent each year during the period from 2019 to 2022 for depots at Lucknow Division for Primary based train year-wise of division towards rodent control.
Year-wise detail of no. of rodents trapped in the previous 3 years are:
Railways issue clarification
The Lucknow division of Northern Railway issued clarification stating that these activities encompass a range of pest control measures, such as using flushing agents to prevent cockroach infestations, disinfecting train coaches to deter rodents, conducting fogging activities, and more.
“The work is more of a preventive nature rather than actively catching rodents. Total cost as mentioned in the article of ₹23.2 lakh per year in the comprehensive control of cockroaches, rodents, bed bugs, mosquitoes extra in all coaches maintained at Lucknow Division,” the rail division said in a statement
Considering the average of 25,000 coaches addressed each year, this results in an approximate cost of ₹94 per coach for rodent control - “very minimal cost considering the damage, and destruction which can be caused by the rodent,” it added.
The Lucknow division further said the cost of catching one rat represented as ₹41,000 is a “misrepresentation of reality and distortion of facts aimed at harming the reputation of Indian Railways".
No answer on damage by rats
Gaur’s RTI application had also asked about the value of the damage caused by the rats. The railways, however, did not provide specific details, stating that no assessment of damage had been made.