Patna: Authorities in Jharkhand state in eastern India are looking for ways to contain a rat menace after the pests were blamed for three train derailments in the past few months. No loss of life was reported as those trains were goods carriers.

The derailments occurred at Daltongunj railway station in Palamu district, 260km south of Patna, Bihar. The most recent incident happened on November 23, when a goods train carrying cement bags derailed after the tracks caved in “due to a maze of holes dug out by rodents”.

Authorities said the rats have rendered the earth beneath the tracks unstable. They claim to have written to railway officials to initiate work to contain the rat menace.

“The menace of rodents on railway tracks has become a matter of serious concern,” Daltongunj railway station traffic inspector A.K. Sinha said on Wednesday.

According to Sinha, unloading of food grains had been attracting rats at the stations.

A railway employee said he saw the train from neighbouring Chhattisgarh state jerked several times before some wagons jumped off the rails.

Rats have also been said to have frequently attacked train passengers. In January 2014, passengers aboard Rajdhani Express had created ruckus and brought the train to a halt by pulling the chain, seeking medical attention after an elderly woman had her toe nibbled by scurrying rats. The long-distance train from New Delhi, which was on its way to Kolkata, was allowed to resume its journey only after she was given first aid in Bihar.