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Labourers do eat rats in Thanjavur area: TN
August 19, 2003 03:57 IST
The Tamil Nadu government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it was common for labourers in Tiruvarur district to eat 'robust rats' and emphatically denied that they have been forced to adopt such eating habits due to starvation.
The state government told this to a bench comprising Chief Justice V N Khare and Justice S B Sinha during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by Congress leader and senior advocate Ashwini Kumar.
Quoting a report of the Collector of Tiruvarur district, the government said, "Before water is let out in the Cauvery River and canals, farmers usually ferret out field rats in the ridges of the fields. While doing so, it is common for the labourers to select robust rats for cooking after removing the skin during the rainy season and during summer."
Referring to the news report about rat eating by people in some villages due to starvation, the government said there was only one incident of a labourer cooking rice and roasting a field rat. "There have been no starvation deaths in Tamil Nadu and it is also incorrect to say that poor farmers in Tamil Nadu were forced to eat rats to avoid death," it said in an affidavit.
Senior advocate Kumar termed the affidavit as inadequate in terms of answering the implementation of pro-poor programmes and requested the court to seek a detailed affidavit on distribution of ration through the Public Distribution System.
The court adjourned the matter to Friday.
More reports from Tamil Nadu
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