Charbagh’s Contractual Ratbusters

rat menace charbagh railway station 750x500-compressed
Rodents running Riot in Charbagh – Pic courtesy – The News Minute

In Lucknow ‘Chooha Bhaag Billi Aayi’ is now a thing of the past. In today’s generation to tame the rats at Charbagh Railway Station there are contract killers who are being hired to the hit job. Yes you heard it right.

The problem of rodents at the Railway Station in the City has bothered the authorities for nearly half a decade now. At this point it seems people have taken serious note of the problem. But things in Lucknow seem comical.

The Northern Railway have hired ‘contract killers’ to eliminate hundreds of giant rodents. The rats have have dug up tunnels under the platforms of the ever so enigmatic Charbagh railway station.

Reports suggest that a private company has been given a contract of estimated  Rs 4.76 lakh to kill the rats, which have caused damage to railway property, government files and passenger goods. The contract is for a year and work to eliminate rodents will start by the end of the month.

By rough estimates the per month cost of the contract killing team is estimated at Rs 40,000 per month and they will cover the circulating area, platforms, buildings and shunting yards.

The modus operandi if we may call it seems to be simple. Prepare edible food items for the rats laced with poison and treat them. The ingredients of these will be according to World Health Organisation (WHO) norms. Study on the subject suggest that back in 2012 – 2013 similar practices were taken up but it bore little fruit.

Experts say then there was lack of followup action. The rat menace on platforms and in office buildings has incurred a massive loss of Rs 10 lakh to vendors in the past year.

Rats have torn luggage bags in cloak rooms too. Every now and then you find giant rats strolling acrss platforms report locals. Children remain scared while witnessing a rodent run helter scelter. The foundation stone of Charbagh was laid in 1914 and the building was completed in 1923.

Charbagh Railway Station

An architectural wonder painted in red and white, it is considered one of the most beautiful railway stations in India. It incorporates a fine blend of Rajput, Awadhi and Mughal architecture and has a palatial appearance. A unique feature of the Charbagh railway station is that an aerial view looks like chessmen on a board.

Charbagh station is one of the two main railway stations of Lucknow city for broad gauge trains. It derives its name from the words ‘Char Bagh’ — or four gardens — which existed earlier. Known to be one of the busiest railway stations in terms of traffic with nearly 85 passenger trains originating from here and more than 300 trains passing through the station .

Perhaps it seems sans a pied piper, Railways has found this unique way to do away with rats turning the base of Charbagh station hollow.

Not surprisingly there has been a time in Lucknow when some officials at Charbagh Station  had been assigned a job of counting dead rats. Authorities last time it is learnt doubted the rodent termination claims of the agency roped in to get rid of the menace.

Railways at the initial stages spent nearly Rs 60,000 every month to ward off the rodent menace. Railways have set the benchmark high. For them anything less than  500 dead rats every day is disappointing, and makes the agency doing the job an under-performer.

A quick check on the previous records shows they used to trace rat-holes, and then kill rats by fogging with poisonous gases. But this operation failed to work.

The highest that previous agencies have gone is 2000 rats killed in day.

So now you can move over Ghostbusters. For Charbagh atleast it is now time for a new set of Ratbusters. So if Bollywood has Mousehunt, why not have a Ratbusters movie on the Charbagh rodent menace, what say?


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