Rats are creating panic among the farming community in the district by damaging paddy crop. Though agricultural scientists are warning officials over the rat menace, the rat eradication programme by the government is yet to be implemented effectively.
The agriculture department has not received so far the full supply of bromodiolin drug meant for killing rats.
Over the last five years, the department spent, at least on paper, Rs 1. 50 crore to combat the rat menace, but in vain. To what extent the funds have been utilised really is a million dollar question.
As per estimates, farmers are loosing over 3 lakh tonne of paddy, worth Rs 325 crore, to rats annually. Every year, during Kharif and Rabi seasons, paddy is cultivated in 4.75 lakh acres in the district, with a production of 26 lakh tonne. During 2010-2011, the agriculture department supplied `29 lakh worth of rat poison to farmers in 2.
23 lakh hectares, which reportedly protected 55,535 tonne of paddy. However, it is learnt that rat poison worth lakhs of rupees has not been used properly. In 2011-2012, 2.5 tonne of rat poison worth Rs 26.55 lakh was supplied for use in 2.
52 lakh hectares and the agriculture department claims that the measure saved 75,000 tonne of paddy. This year, 2. 45 tonne of bromodiolin costing `26. 41 lakh was supplied to 2. 45 hectares. A massive rat killing programme was conducted for two days last month. Apart from agricultural fields, rat poison must also be used in vacant government lands and railway tracks close to paddy fields. But, there is no sign of such usage.