If the BMC data is to be believed, the civic body’s night rat killers (NRKs) killed over 764 rats per day last year. While this may sound like a lot, citizens have pointed out that it’s a far smaller count than 2013’s (almost 907 each day), indicating poorer effort in dealing with the rodent menace.

An NRK counts the number of rats he has killed. Rat killers are supposed to kill a minimum of 30 rats for every night of work
An NRK counts the number of rats he has killed. Rat killers are supposed to kill a minimum of 30 rats for every night of work

The BMC, on the other hand, claims it is dealing with the problem so well that there are now fewer rats to kill, leading to the lower numbers. To some, this might seem like a case of the glass being half-empty or half-full, but Mumbaikars feel that the city particularly Mahim is overrun with rats.

These pests then damage footpaths, buildings and other properties by burrowing into them. The BMC’s Insecticide department currently has 44 NRKs, who kill rats using either poison or a stick. In 2014, the department killed 2.79 lakh rats, which is 52,000 less than the 3.31 lakh killed in 2013.

According to Farookhque Dhala, a Mahim resident, not only is the department’s technique ineffective, as the poison gets washed away in the monsoon, there aren’t enough rat killers to do the job either. He said, “After repeated complaints to the BMC, finally some NRKs arrived and started killing the rats, but there is still not enough effort, because the civic body doesn’t have enough staff.

In G/north (Mahim, Dadar) ward there are two posts for NRKs, but one post is always vacant. How can a single person tackle such a huge ward?” Dhala and a few other residents of the Mahim Dargah area met the civic health committee chairperson, Geeta Gawli, to discuss the issue on Monday afternoon.

They demanded that the corporation increase the number of night rat killers and ensure that regular visits are made to areas badly affected by rats. Gawli assured them that action would be taken soon.