Saturday, October 02, 2021

Airport waits for a Pied Piper to free terminal of cats and rats

Kolkata: The city airport authorities are seeking professional cat and mouse catchers to get the terminal free of rodents and felines after a portion of the false ceiling and accompanying aluminium cladding fell off last Tuesday, startling an airline crew and narrowly missing a flyer.The aluminium cladding that fell beside the entrance to a toilet in the departure terminal had also brought down a cat. An internal inquiry showed the animal was up there because of rats, which brought into focus the problem of rodents at the airport. Airport authorities have decided to hire an NGO to relocate the cats and a government pest control agency to exterminate the rats.

“The rat infestation has been a problem with the Kolkata airport. We have asked the central warehousing corporation in charge of rodent control and pest control at airports to look into the issue,” said airport director C Pattabhi.

An airport official said the rats mostly hide inside the false ceiling, electrical panels, hangars and apron areas. In January last year, a rat on a Dehradun-bound Air India plane from Kolkata had forced the airline to abort the trip at Varanasi, let out passengers and accommodate them in hotels for 24 hours as staffers looked for the rodent.

After Tuesday’s incident, Twitter was abuzz with posts on cat sighting inside the terminals. A Twitter user posted a seven-second video of a cat sitting comfortably on a bench in the airport cafeteria.

In the last year, multiple Twitter users have posted photographs of different cats roaming inside different parts of the terminal.

02/10/21 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

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