New Delhi (dpa) – A pest control firm exterminated 4,400 rats over two days at a state-run hospital in India, with thousands still on the premises, its chief executive said Thursday. Maharaja Yeshwantrao in Indore, about 800 kilometres south of Delhi, is still home to more than 10,000 rodents, said Sanjay G Karmakar, head of Laxmi Fumigation and Pest Control Service Ltd.
The complex consists of seven buildings across about 10 acres. “We have only tackled a part of the grounds so far – they are riddled with rodent burrows, at least 1,000 of them. Each would have four to eight rodents.
“We have not started on the buildings yet,” Karmakar said. The pest control firm is baiting the rodents with different food each day. “One day it is peanuts and clarified butter, another day its roasted chickpeas, potato cakes and so on,” Karmakar said.
“If one of a family dies after eating something, the other rats won’t touch the same food, so we have to keep changing the menu.” Operation Kayakalp (transformation) began on October 28 and is scheduled to run until December 4. Karmakar’s company ran a similar operation at the hospital in 1994 soon after an outbreak of pneumonic plague in the neighbouring state of Gujarat.
“We cremated 12,000 rodents at the local electric crematorium in the mpresence of govern-ment officials after Kayakalp I in 1994,” Karmakar said. But there was no follow up by the hospital authorities and the rodents multiplied again.
The 950-bed hospital is one of the biggest government-run healthcare facilities in Madhya Pradesh state. It includes a medical college and is visited by over 1,100 outpatients daily. Officials said poor refuse disposal was the main reason for the rat infestation.