Cash for Rat Scheme costs government nearly Rs. 25 lakh

Cash for Rat Scheme costs government nearly Rs. 25 lakh

Kill a rat and earn Rs 2 - This is the incentive the Mizoram government has given to farmers to cope with the rodent population explosion threatening crops.

Farmers are being paid Rs 2 for every rat tail brought in to government offices as proof that the rodent has been killed, a top official of the state agriculture department said. The government has so far purchased over 12 lakh rat tails from farmers in the “cash-for-rats scheme.”

The cash incentive was devised by the state government to deal with the rapid increase in the rat population caused by a rare flowering of wild bamboo plants in the state. The rats feast on the bamboo flowers, which bloom intermittently for a few years and then stop blooming for another forty eight years. When the flowers die down the rats depends on other crops for food.

Though the government intended to purchase the rat tails up to December 15 the deadline may be extended, revealed the official. Rat tails, already purchased, have been publicly burnt in the district headquarters, he added.

“The existing army of rats are expected to survive till December and soon die as they will be left with nothing to eat”, predicted plant protection experts Mr. James Lalsiamliana quoting examples of the last famine caused by Bamboo flowering in 1958-59.

Veejay Chhetri