After missing liquor, rats blamed for Bihar floods

The rodents apparently made holes in the embankments, says State Water Resources Minister

September 02, 2017 12:36 am | Updated 08:44 am IST - Patna

PATNA, BIHAR, 12/09/2016: JD (U) leader and Energy Minister Bijendra Yadav (L) with Bihar Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh addressing a press conference at party office in Patna on September 12, 2016. 
Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

PATNA, BIHAR, 12/09/2016: JD (U) leader and Energy Minister Bijendra Yadav (L) with Bihar Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh addressing a press conference at party office in Patna on September 12, 2016. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

Barely four months after officials accused rats of having drunk much of the seized liquor in the dry State, Bihar’s Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh has held rats responsible for the floods in the State.

Twenty districts of north Bihar have been affected by floods . More than 500 people have lost their lives so far and a few hundred thousand have been rendered homeless.

Reviewing the flood situation on Friday, Mr Singh claimed that rats had damaged the river embankments, which, in turn, caused the floods. “Rats are the main reason behind the seepage, especially in the Kamla Balan river embankment. Since the river is far away from the embankment, people living near the embankment store their grains on a machan (a raised, makeshift bamboo platform) on the embankment. This attracts rodents, which make holes in these embankments to access the grains, and this eventually causes seepage and floods,” the minister said, addressing the media. He, however, added that “even these holes in the embankments were plugged by the government within 72 hours.”

Bihar’s Minister for Minor Irrigation and Disaster Management Dinesh Chandra Yadav also said that rodents have been causing floods by damaging the embankments. “This has been a problem for a long time but what can you do? Can anyone claim to chase away rats from a place forever? Mosquitoes and rats have been a perennial problem,” he said, adding, “Even after fumigation the mosquitoes come back in a few hours.” The Opposition RJD leaders took a dig at the state government for blaming the floods on the rats. “ Rats have been guzzling liquor , rats been eating grains, and now rats are causing floods in the state. If rats have become so powerful, then they should be put in charge of running the government,” said senior RJD leader and former State Finance Minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui.

RJD MLA and party spokesperson Shakti Yadav said that the “government was trying to hide its failure through such illogical statements”. The ruling BJP’s MLA Mithilesh Tiwari denounced Mr. Singh’s contention and said, “In a written reply in the State Assembly, the government had assured us that all embankments are safe and secure. How could they now blame rats? The concerned officials should be held accountable”.

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