Mighty rats carry down Three-storey Agra constructing

AGRA: Thousands of rats, burrowing underground for years, brought down a in Agra. The bizarre incident took place on Sunday morning near Mankameshwar temple, an area which has very old grocery traders’ establishments.
The rat population of the area, which has always been high, has exploded so much in recent years that the rodents have been burrowing under houses, damaging sewage and pipelines and other infrastructure. The foundations of dozens of houses have been weakened, officials said.

On Saturday evening, after heavy rains, water entered these underground burrows and the owner of the house vacated it along with his family, fearful that the building had become unstable. Hours later, the building collapsed. The entire incident was caught on camera and went viral on social media.

Foundations of premises in around a dozen localities of the old city including Kacheri Ghat, Belanganj, Jeevani Mandi, Philip Ganj, Moti Ganj, Patiram Gali, Gudri Mansoor Khan, Seb ka Bazaar, Rawatpara, and several other nearby localities have been damaged by rats. Streets and sewer pipelines have also been damaged.

On Sunday, the three-storey house collapsed at Teelay Wali Gali in . Peepal Mandi councillor said, “The foundation of the house had been completely hollowed out. Sudhir Kumar Verma, the owner of the house, was living here with eight other family members. He tried all possible solutions to get rid of the rats, but was not successful. On Saturday evening, the plaster of the ceilings started falling. On the suggestion of friends and neighbours, Verma and his family vacated the house late in the night, although they left almost all their possessions behind. A few hours later, the entire house collapsed. At least most of the debris fell on open ground and not on other houses.”

Verma said, “My ancestral house was destroyed in seconds. My family and I had a narrow escape. We tried everything possible to get rid of the rats, and stop the damage to the foundations, but nothing worked. After the recent rains and high-speed winds, the walls developed cracks. We knew it was a dangerous situation, but not that the building would collapse like this.”

Motiganj councilor Rakesh Jain said, “Rats have damaged foundations of houses, and have burrowed under roads, through sewage lines and around manholes in the entire Kacheri Ghat and neighbouring areas. The recent rains and high-speed winds have destabilised several houses. We have asked the civic body to take immediate steps for the safety of residents.”

Agra mayor Naveen Jain said, “Although the house that collapsed was old, it is true that several localities in the old city area have a major rodent problem and foundations of houses have been damaged. Crores of rupees of development works in the last few years have been wasted. I will meet with councilors and officials to work out a problem.”

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