Multiple reports have surfaced online claiming that the Lucknow Division of Northern Railways spent Rs 69.5 lakh to catch 168 rats between 2020 and 2022. This means that Northern Railways spent around Rs 41,000 per rodent over a period of around 3 years. However, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) denied the claims, calling the reports “misleading.” PIB shared the information on X (formerly Twitter).
As per the reports, the figures were disclosed in response to an RTI filed by an activist Chandrasekhar Gaur. It is to be noted that activities involving pest and rodent control on the railways fall under the heading of primary maintenance. Trains from the individual railway divisions are subjected to this primary maintenance.
Five divisions make up Northern Railways: Delhi, Ambala, Lucknow, Ferozepur, and Moradabad. It is significant that only the Lucknow division provided a thorough response to Gaur’s RTI inquiries, which were addressed at Northern Railways.
This article is #Misleading
The cost incurred is preventative in nature
Once the reports started gaining traction online, multiple political leaders reacted to the RTI reply. Rajya Sabha MP Randeep Singh Surjewala wrote on X, “Railways spent ₹41,000 and six days in catching a rat! By spending a total of ₹69.40 lakh, 156 rats were caught in 3 years! This is the condition of the Lucknow region alone.”
“All over the country, the ‘rats of corruption’ are picking people’s pockets every day… Result: Under BJP rule, people are hit by rampant inflation every day. Even the concession given to the elderly in rail fares has been eaten away! Still, he says – ‘Neither will I eat nor will I let you eat ..’ !” he added.
Claiming that the information is misleading, PIB said, “Cost was for pest control of cockroaches, rodents, bed bugs, mosquitoes, etc. in all coaches maintained at Lucknow Division.” Breaking down the total amount spent to average cost PIB said, “Cost was for pest control in an average of 25,000 coaches per year, i.e., around ₹ 94 per coach per year, or less than ₹ 8 per coach per month.”