Lamka, Aug 18: Left with no other option and to draw the attention of the Government to the rodent menace, the village chief of Lungthul (E) has collected more than one thousand dried rodent tails from the villagers and produced them before the media here to confirm and highlight their plight due to the rapid increase in the population of rats which has taken a heavy toll on their foodgrains and standing crops.
“The tails displayed before you are just a week’ s catch in my village, and on an average a family can trap 15-20 rodents a day,” the chief, named Kampi, told the media even as he produced more than a thousand giant rat-tails at the CDSU Information centre here.
“A few weeks earlier rodents stormed our fields during the night, but now they have started attacking the standing crops even before sunset or before the farmers leave their farm for the day. The ever growing holes in the field have made matter all that worse as the rodents can now escape the traditional trap -mankhawng- which we lay along the periphery of our fields,” he said.
Not just rice, but maize, cucumber, papaya “anything the rodents can get hold of are destroyed by the rats during their raids,” he added.
“Our lives are no longer in our hands,” said the village chief and apparently appealing to the Government through the media added, “if you can help get rid of the rodents we will have something when the harvest season comes, otherwise we will have nothing in our hands.”
The chief claimed that his village could escape the severe brunt of last year’s Mautaam as he could get hold of a great deal of expired rodenticides from the Government.
Against the official advice the chief brought the expired rodenticides and manage to help his villagers to an extent from the rodents last year.
But now he has no option as the rodents’ population has increased manifold and the rodenticides are scarce even in the market.
Every possible effort to ward-off the rodents was made and the traditional trap was made mandatory.
Family with no capable person to construct the trap had to arrange someone and pay them by working on their fields. The efforts of the villagers are now falling short and the tale of ten families discarding their fields “losing all hope of any harvest” is a grim reminder of the gravity of the situation.
Following the unique demonstration of the chief, the ZEPADA has reiterated its worst fear of people dying due to famine in the district if the situation is not addres-sed to on a priority basis.
In spite of its SOS to the Chief Minister and the State Governor, and even after learning that crores of rupe-es were spent for combating the rodent menace and oth-er crores being sanctioned by the Union Govt for relief and rehabilitation, the grou-nd situation remains uncha- nged, and instead is getting worse each day, it said in a statement today. The agen-cy also reiterated its dema- nd for free relief rice, relief assistance from CM relief fund, release of fund sanctioned by the Union Govt, ensuring food security and to pay Rs 5 for each tail of rodent that the villagers pro- duce. Alarmed and concer-ned by the lack of acknow- ledgement and relief from the Govt six civil societies of the Zomis have come forwa-rd to jointly organize a relief concert on Sep 5, 2008. Sig-ned by leaders from ZEPADA, ZYA, ZAA, ZSF, ZHRF and ZMA the civil societies have appealed to one and all to kindly lend their helping hands in their humanitarian endeavour.