Authorities in Mizoram, northeast India, are offering villagers a 5-cent cash reward for every rat tail they bring to local authorities, the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) said Monday.

"We are motivating villagers to kill rats and bring the tail as evidence to local authorities," IANS quoted James Lalsianliana, a deputy director in charge of plant protection and head of the state's rodent control cell, as saying.

The move comes as part of a hunt for over 400,000 rats which have caused havoc among crops, destroying around 77,000 hectares (190,000 acres) in more than 200 villages, triggering a famine alert.

The official said already hundreds of people are queuing at local agriculture offices with tails.

The anti-rodent scheme which was first introduced by locals five years ago will continue until December 15, he added.