Lamka, Sep 1: Rats continue to take a heavy toll on the standing crops in the interiors of Churachandpur district and this was evident during a tour conducted by seven journalists of the Manipur Hills Journalists’ Union during the last five days.
Sufficient evidences were collected and the team personally witnessed rodents in masses attacking standing crops though the ‘actual action’ could not be captured on camera.
Though the team could clearly see the rodents attacking the standing crops, no snaps could be taken as it was too far for the cameras to capture them on lens.
Landslides between Sinzawl and Dialkhai also compounded the efforts of the team to capture the rodents attacking the standing crops on camera.
Refusing to give up, the team made several attempts to capture the rodents in action but the chest high paddy was an obstacle to move closer for the di-gital cameras to capture the rats. The team however wit- nessed from a distance rats attacking the paddy and by mutely positioning themselves in the field they had to listen to the sound of rats chewing the paddy on all sides with clarity. By using a torch light they also witnessed the top of the paddy quivering as rats chewed their stem. Left with no other option the team randomly entered the houses at Jou-tung village and witnessed rats being dried. Some villagers were enterprising enough to record their catches and a housewife managed to produce more than 250 tails wrapped in papers. A 7-year old boy also presented the team a couple of 10 inch tails which he said was caught by his parents in the morning. ‘Rats captured since July 21, 2008 – 125’ were the words that the team saw scribbled on the wall of a house. “Rats have devoured all the maize and cucumbers, if not we would have offered you some”, a local guide said.