A market in Assam where rat earns top price

Updates from :  The Hindu :

A kg sells for about ₹200, as much as chicken and pork

Freshly-caught rat is at the top of the holiday menu for crowds flocking to a market in Assam that specialises in rodents from local fields.

Destined to be boiled, skinned and then cooked in a spicy gravy, rat is more popular than chicken and pork with customers at the Sunday market in Kumarikata village, along the Indo-Bhutan border, some 90 km from Guwahati.

Rat has become a valuable source of income for the poor Adivasi tribal people who struggle to make ends meet working in Assam’s famed tea gardens. In the winter months when tea picking slumbers, the Adivasis go to rice paddies to trap rats for the market.

A kg of rat meat, which is considered a delicacy, sells for about ₹200 rupees — as much as for chicken and pork.

Farmers say the region has seen growing numbers of rats in recent years. “We put traps in the fields as the rats eat people’s paddy,” said Samba Soren, a rat vendor at Kumarikata. The rodents are hunted at night during the harvesting season with traps made from bamboo. The vendors work at night to make sure other predators do not get to the dead rats first. Some of the rats weigh more than a kg and the traders say they get between 10 and 20 kg a night.

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