Bihar is under crisis and do you know who is to blame for all of this mess? - Rats. Three ministers on Friday blamed the rodents for the floods that devastated the state’s northern and eastern parts last month.
Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh said, "Rats are the main reason behind the seepage, especially in the Kamla Balan river embankment.” The minister claimed people living near the embankment store food grains on a raised platform. "This attracts rodents, which make holes in these embankments to access the grains, and this eventually causes seepage and floods”.
Minister for Minor Irrigation and Disaster Management, Dinesh Chandra Yadav said rats and mosquitoes are a perennial problem. "This has been a problem for a long time but what can you do,” he asked. "Can anyone claim to chase away rats from a place forever?”
In May, police officials had claimed that rats were drinking thousands of litres of liquor that had been seized and stored in stations. The issue had came up after the media reported that the seized bottles of liquor were missing from police station 'malkhanas' (stores).
Deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi went a step further in the blame game as on Saturday he not only blamed rats for causing the devastating floods in the state, but also held the Congress party and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Government responsible for the same.
"This is not a matter of today, this is happening from last 50 years. Rats damaged the river embankments, which caused the flood. Rats are not the only factor behind this. This issue has been taking place since the time the Congress and Lalu Yadav's Government were in power. They all are responsible for this," the Deputy Chief Minister told ANI.
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.
Critics and opposition parties, however, accused the government of absolving itself of its failures and finding a scapegoat in rats.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, who has been attacking the Bihar government over the floods, wasted no time in hitting back.
"The minister is the biggest rodent. We will expose them all for causing such huge destruction. Imagine, a minister talking like this to hide his own failures,” he said in Ranchi.
BJP MLA Mithilesh Tiwari, however, was also not convinced with the minister’s argument.
"Earlier, they said in reply to a question in the assembly that all embankments are safe but now rats are being blamed, while people suffer,” he said.