VIDEO: Rats turning ‘alcoholic’ in India’s dry Bihar state

Manoj Chaurasia
Manoj Chaurasia - Special to Al Arabiya English
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A state government in eastern India is caught in a new worry – how to tackle the “alcoholic” rats!

The state government in Bihar enforced total ban on sale and consumption of liquor in the state with the objective to save the new generation fast turning towards alcoholism. The result is that everyone has given up drinking at least within the boundary of Bihar state but now the rodents have turned alcoholic instead with the seized alcohol abundantly available in police storerooms and rotting for months.

The naughty rats are now gnawing at beer cans and making holes in the caps of whisky bottles stored in police storehouses and apparently getting drunk, authorities say. Their bizarre habits have also dirtied the storerooms with the liquor spilling out and filling the entire space with intoxicating stench.

Rats turning ‘alcoholic’ in India

The officials encountered an interesting situation on Monday when they opened the storeroom of excise department in Kaimur district, some 200 km south-west of Patna, to destroy the huge liquor stocks worth over Rs three million seized in the past two years since the alcohol ban was imposed in April 2016.

What the authorities saw there stunned them a lot – dozens of beer cans empty with big holes visible in them and the remaining beer spilling out. A TV grab showed the cartons nibbled by the rats to get inside and sip the beer using their sharp incisors. What was interesting all the cartons were still neatly packed in the same condition as they were seized and stored there.

“Prima facie, it looks like the work of rats since only cans and cartons have been damaged. All cans are in place but most are leaking and empty,” a local sub-divisional magistrate Kumari Anupam said on Tuesday.

She said she was verifying the entire liquor stock to give a detailed report to the district magistrate. Authorities said a total of 11,584 bottles of liquor were stored in the storeroom.

Last year too, accusing fingers had been pointed at the rodents when a huge number of liquor bottles were found to be destroyed in several police storerooms. Police had seized some 900,000 liters of alcohol during raids post alcohol ban but many bottles were found to be either damaged or leaking.

Rats turning ‘alcoholic’ in India

The story came to light when the local Patna’s senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj at a meeting with the police inspectors inquired from them about the status of confiscated liquor stocks. He was simply left stunned after being told that the alcohol bottles were either consumed by the rats or destroyed by them.

He was informed by his subordinates that the rats nibble off the caps using their sharp teeth and consumed the liquor. The incident prompted the state government to issue orders about destroying the liquor stocks at regular intervals instead of storing them in police storerooms. The seized stocks were being stored as they were required to be produced in the court during trial of liquor cases.

Cough syrups too

That is not the end of the story. Rats have also been found to be sipping cough syrups at the hospitals. Cough syrups normally contain 10 to 40 percent of alcohol.

In March this year, several cough syrups kept in storerooms of the state-run Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) in Patna were found to be empty or leaking. Hospital officials claim to have seen rats moving about in groggy state on the hospital premises after apparently feasting on medicines packed in cartons meant for patients.

Bihar imposed total prohibition on April 5, 2016 under a new law passed by the state assembly. The new law states that anybody found drinking or selling alcohol can be jailed for 10 years.

According to an official report, more than 161,000 persons have been arrested for violating the liquor ban in Bihar in the past two years. Authorities have also seized more than 1.5 million liters of alcohol during the same period, which include 852,452 liters of Indian made foreign liquor.

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