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Wanted a pied piper at Patna Junction!

Officers in the Danapur railway division are being asked to look for a person, who could control the rat menace at Patna Junction and other railway stations, reports Vijay Swaroop.
Hindustan Times | By Vijay Swaroop, Patna
UPDATED ON MAY 21, 2007 06:38 PM IST

Wanted a pied piper at Patna Junction! This is the unofficial advertisement of East Central Railways. Officers and their well-wishers in the Danapur railway division these days are being asked to look for a person, who could control the rat menace at Patna Junction and other railway stations.

Thousands of rats have made Patna Junction their home and have turned out to be a big headache for the railway officials. The rodents have hit the modernisation work of the station to such an extent that the newly constructed/extended platforms have been damaged at several places. They have also dug up tunnels under various platforms.

Even, the busy platform number has not been left untouched by the rats. They have started making holes in the walls and have damaged goods kept in the parcel room. Fortunately, they are yet to cause any serious damage to the tracks. It may be noted that Patna Junction has been selected for upgradation as world-class station.

"We are looking for a pest control officer or an expert who could check the menace," said the Divisional Railway Manager of Danapur, Pankaj Jain. When Hindustan Times asked Jain the reason for the newly constructed platforms caving in, he blamed the rats.

He said because of the soft soil, the rats have dug holes under the platforms causing them to subside. "Even the platform number one is not untouched," said Jain. "At several places, they have made holes in the walls," he admitted candidly. "We want that someone gives us a clue about a specialist who could check the rodents’ growth," he said.

Incidentally, this is not the first time that rats have played havoc at Patna Junction. Earlier, instead of pest control officers, the railway authorities had taken the help of Mushar community to kill them. The step proved ineffective.

Regarding the tracks, the DRM said the rats may have left it alone due to vibrations caused by trains. According to the DRM, it is mostly porcupines, which make holes along the side of railway tracks and that too near embankments. "But, this phenomenon is not common in this part of the country," he said.

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