How can contractor kill three.2 lakh rats in Mantralaya in every week: Ex-minister

MUMBAI: Eknath on Thursday said he smelt a rat in the government’s claim that nearly 3.2 lakh rodents were killed in a week in by a contractor in 2016.
“If the contractor is to be believed, he killed 45,628 rats in a day or 31 rats per minute,” the senior BJP leader said during a discussion on budgetary allocations in the assembly. He pointed out that BMC had killed 6 lakh rats across the city in 2015 and 2016. “The contractor was paid Rs 1.5 for every rat,” he told reporters outside the assembly later.

In the assembly, Khadse said the general administration department (GAD) had invited bids to kill rats damaging files and cables in Mantralaya. The government said there were 3,19,400 rats in Mantralaya, he said claiming that the information was given in reply to an RTI query by the BJP MLA from Bhandara, Charan Waghmare.

Recalling Dharma Patil, a farmer who consumed poison inside Mantralaya for not getting adequate compensation for his land acquired for a solar power project, Khadse said, “He consumed the poison that was meant to kill rats.”

Khadse said it was later found out that the contractor did not have a licence to handle the poison nor did he take permission from the GAD or the home department to place poison in Mantralaya.

“Such cases bring a bad name to the government. Rather than appointing a contractor the government should have just let 10 cats inside the Mantralaya who would have effectively exterminated all the rodents,” said Khadse, who was ousted from the cabinet in 2016 following allegations of misuse of power in a land deal in which his family members were involved.

“There were major irregularities in the tender or the contractor has cheated the government,” said Khadse adding that even if the tender was issued in 2016, the bill was cleared only recently.

While issuing the tender, the time stipulated to catch or kill the rats was six months but when the work order was issued it was reduced to two months, he said adding that, the contractor, however, claimed to have completed the work in just seven days— May 3 to May 10, 2016.

He said that according to the government’s RTI reply, the contractor had killed 9 tons of rats every day. Khadse said, “This means that the contractor killed a truck full of rats. Does the government know where he dumped them? Can the contractor show us the site?”

Junior minister of GAD Madan Yerawar said the government would look at the tendering process and the details of it will be submitted before the legislative assembly.

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