Rats responsible for 10% of Mumbai's potholes, claim experts

Aug 13, 2014, 11:51 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Road experts say the rodents are attracted by food left behind by hawkers and burrow rat holes in the roads, which expand to potholes during the monsoon

If you thought rats were capable of making your life hell only in your home or office, here’s a reality check. Road experts have told mid-day that the furry rodents are also behind at least a few hundred potholes on the city’s roads.

Going by the experts’ estimates, at least 600 of the city’s potholes have been caused by rats. File pic
Going by the experts’ estimates, at least 600 of the city’s potholes have been caused by rats. File pic

Food dumped by hawkers on the road attracts rats, who try to build their homes along the footpaths or on the tarred roads. Come the monsoon, these rat holes begin expanding to become every motorist’s nightmare. Road experts estimate that nearly 10% of all potholes potholes and severely damaged footpaths are caused by rats.

To put that into perspective, nearly 6,277 potholes have been reported to the BMC this year, which would mean that around 620 of them were rat holes before. And, with the BMC handing out nearly 1 lakh hawking licences, this problem is only going to rise.

NV Merani, former chairman of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee, said, “Along with various reasons like low-quality materials and faulty methods of reparing roads, rat holes are one of the main causes of potholes.

We have warned the BMC about this, but instead of doing som-ething about it, the BMC is planning to increase the number of hawkers on the roads.”

While the BMC’s road department engineers claim they are aware of the problem, they say they are helpless as killing rats is the responsibility of the health department. “The rat holes are a known reason, but the most we can do is tell our solid waste management department to clear the garbage, which I assume is done. But, we also have to look at the broader aspect and have the roads made in a such a way that they are resistant to potholes, said a road department officer.

BMC speak
Additional Municipal Commissioner S V R Srinivas said, “We have been working on the potholes and the reasons behind their occurrence. We have a long-term plan for better roads and are working on it.”

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