Army searching for Pied Piper in Ladakh

Last Updated: Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 12:13

New Delhi: Army is searching for a Pied
Piper in Ladakh where rats are gobbling up its ration which
reaches there through a long and arduous supply route.

The Indian Army stocks supplies for winter in the
summer itself as the road links to higher altitudes remains
cut-off from the rest of the country in winter due to heavy
snowfall for around six months.

As the roads are too narrow, they take the help of
mules to carry these rations and other essential supplies to
an altitude of over 15,000 feet.

Since there is significant rodent infestation in the
Army settlements in higher altitudes, the Medical Research
Wing of the Armed Forces Medical Services are going to
undertake a study to find out the extent of the problem of
rodent nuisance in eastern and western Ladakh armed forces
settings.

"Rats cause a great deal of nuisance everywhere. They
spoil precious stocks, lead to nuisance and also spread
diseases. Army settlements in higher altitudes are not spared
from this as these rats are spoiling the winter stocks.

"All conventional methods of controlling them are not
as effective as they are in the plains," Lieutenant General
Naresh Kumar, Commandant, Army Hospital Research and referral
and officiating DGAFMS said.

Conventional methods exist to control rodent nuisance
like rat traps, rodenticides and repellents have failed in
Ladakh.

"Carrying rations and other essential supplies to an
altitude of over 15,000 feet is no easy task. As such we have
decided to conduct a study to identify the problem of rodent
nuisance in eastern Ladakh and western Ladakh in Armed Forces
setting and evaluate various methods to control them for
effective management of their infestation in our areas in
eastern and western Ladakh," Major General Mandeep Singh, ADG,
Medical Research, Armed Forces Medical Services said.

Rats not only waste our food grains like wheat, rice
and atta but they also cause a great deal of nuisance by
scampering, running around and making noise.

And needless to say they are carriers of various
diseases, he said.

"None of these conventional methods are of help to us.
In the study that will be undertaken, we will concentrate on
three aspects. We will look for measures to identify the most
effective technique to control the nuisance spread by rats.

While looking into the various nuisance spread by them we will
also find if they have the potential to spread diseases,"
Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Abraham, preventive medicine
specialist said.

"These rats never were present here in the higher
altitudes or came in with the food stock in trucks and
gradually breeded in large quantities -- all these details need
to be found out.

"There is no established study of rodent nuisance in
higher altitudes," he said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 12:13

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