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Tamil Nadu

Rat eating in TN is not due to poverty

Tuesday 19 August 2003

NEW DELHI: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was common for labourers in the Thanjavur area to eat.

Replying to allegations made by MP Ashwini Kumar in a public interest litigation, the Jayalalithaa government’s affidavit said: “Before water is let out in the Cauvery river and canals, farmers usually ferret out field rats in the ridges of the fields and 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.’’

A bench of Chief Justice V.N. Khare and Justice S.B. Sinha had earlier issued notice to the state government on Mr Kumar’s petition. Referring to the news report about people in villages eating rats due to starvation, the government said that it was one such incident when a labourer was cooking rice and roasting a rat that drew media attention.

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,’’ the government added. Mr Kumar, a senior lawyer, described the affidavit as “inadequate in terms of answering the implementation of the pro-poor programmes’’.He sought a direction for a detailed affidavit on distribution of ration through the public distribution system (PDS).

See online :


The Times of India, Tuesday, August 19, 2003.

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