Rat menace: Maharashtra government placed 3 lakh poison tablets in secretariat in 2016
The minister's clarification came after BJP leader and former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse had last week demanded an inquiry into the way a contract to kill rats in 'Mantralaya' was executed.
MUMBAI: More than three lakh poison tablets were placed in the Maharashtra secretariat in May 2016 to check the rat menace, a minister said today, clarifying that it was not the number of rodents killed in the exercise.
The minister's clarification came after senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse had last week demanded an inquiry into the way a contract to kill rats in 'Mantralaya', or the state secretariat, was executed.
How could the company which was given the contract to kill 3,19,400 rats in Mantralaya accomplish the task in a mere seven days? Khadse had asked on March 22, while speaking in the Legislative Assembly.
Making a statement on the issue in the Lower House today, Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Chandrakant Patil said, "3,19,400 is the number of poison tablets placed in 'Mantralaya' for the eradication of rats and not the number of rats killed."
The contract of putting the tablets in the secretariat premises in south Mumbai was given to M/S Vinayak Mazoor Sahkari Sanstha.
The time frame for completing the work was two months. But, it was done in a week between May 3 and May 9, 2016, he said.
Khadse had last week said "a survey found that there were 3,19,400 rats in the secretariat. A work order was issued by the General Administration Department. The company was given six months. But it claimed to have killed them in just seven days."
"It is very surprising that this company killed over three lakh rats in just seven days while the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation took two years to kill six lakh rats. There is a discrepancy in the claim made by the company," he had said, demanding an inquiry.
He also alleged that Dharma Patil, a farmer who committed suicide in February, consumed poison from the stock kept by the company in the secretariat premises.
The farmer, alleging injustice in award of compensation for land acquisition, had allegedly consumed poison at Mantralaya in January this year and died a few days later.
Meanwhile, the PWD minister said since 1984, the task of placing the poison tablets was being done in the secretariat's main building, the annexe and the front portion to protect official files and the network of cables, and to prevent short-circuit.
The anti-rodent exercise involves placement of poison baits of zinc phosphide mixed with some food material, he added.