Aizawl: Several crops and paddy have been destroyed in different parts of Mizoram following an increase in rodent population believed to be a pre-symptom of the ‘Thingtam’ or flowering of Bambusa Tulda due in 2025, an official of state agriculture department said Monday.

Department director James Lalsiamliana said that rodent attacks on crop and paddy lands have been reported in about 33 villages and affected four districts.

He said that three rural development blocks – Lunglei, Lungsen and Bunghmun in south Mizoram bordering Bangladesh – and West Phaileng block in Mamit district bordering Tripura in the western part of the state were the worst hit. The infestation has affected 295.6 hectares of land, he said.

Rodent attacks on crops and paddy were also reported in Saitual and Khawzawl districts in the northeastern part of the state but the outbreak there was minor, he said.

According to James, the infestation is believed to be a pre-symptom or pre-indication of the upcoming ‘Thingtam’ or flowering of a particular bamboo species called Bambusa Tulda, (Rawthing in local parlance), which is due in 2025, he said. Flowering of Dendrocalamus species (Rawnal) currently occurring in different parts of the state is also believed to be another reason for an increase in rodent population, he said. 

The official said that the government is making efforts to control the rat population by providing poison to farmers and organising awareness programmes among them. 

He said that the current rodent outbreak is unlikely to have much impact on the rice or crop production of the state.

According to James, the last ‘Thingtam’ had occurred in the state in 1977 and is expected to recur in 2025 as the incident occurs in a cycle of every 48 years. He said that ‘Thingtam’ or flowering of Bambusa Tulda also occurs 17 years after ‘Mautam’ or flowering of ‘Mautak’ or Melocanna Baccifera.

Mizoram had witnessed a famine-like situation in 2007 due to flowering of  Melocanna Baccifera, when swarms of rats ravaged paddy fields across the state. 

However, no one died due to the ‘Mautam’ because of timely financial assistance from the Centre and massive preparation by the state government. It might be recalled that the two-decade long insurgency spearheaded by the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF) was triggered allegedly by the Centre’s apathy towards the plights of the Mizos caused by severe ‘Mautam’ that hit Mizoram in 1958.

Also read | No land buy, business sans permit: Mizoram tells Myanmar refugees

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