Paucity of manpower has limited the BMC's rodent killing drive this year to just five of the 24 wards in the city.
The municipal corporation undertakes its annual drive to cleanse the city's underbelly of rats to beat the possibility of leptospirosis, the deadly virus borne disease that often reaches epidemic proportions. The last such incidence was in 2015, when 12 Mumbaikars lost their lives and several hundred were affected. The figures dipped to seven deaths in 2016. Leptospirosis spreads through the urine of rats, cattle and dogs, and the BMC attempts to curb the menace through cattle sterilisation and reducing the number of stray dogs and rats in the metropolis.
This year, the BMC has hiked the rate of killing each rat paid to the rat killers from Rs 10 to Rs 18. Each of the 30 strong rat killer force in the city has been given a target of killing 30 rats per night. Each of the rat killers is equipped with a stick with which the rodents are to be eliminated. Limited manpower resources resulted in the BMC seeking private contractors last year for the rodent killing drive. However, there was no response from contractors for the tenders, even though the BMC later hiked the rates from Rs 10 to Rs 18 per rodent.
The five wards where the rodent killing drive is currently on are E, S, G South and L wards.The Sahakari Swacchh Mumbai Prabodhak Sanstha has been contracted for the work, according to the civic pest control department head Rajan Naringrekar.