Dispur: It is neither chicken nor beef that is the most popular meat in the rural areas of Assam, but rat. Cooked and skinned meat is available at Rs 200 per kg in Assam’s markets. The season for rat meat is during the harvest in the farmlands.
At the Sunday market in Kumarikkatta village, there is no demand for chicken or other meat varieties. Everybody wants rat meat. Rats as a whole or with their skins removed are available. Meat that is ready for frying is also kept for sale. The rats being sold are trapped from the fields by the farmers themselves.
The tribal folk who work in the tea plantations get an extra income from the sale of rats. According to farmers, rat menace has become worse in the area recently. "We trap rats that destroy the paddy crop," says Samba Soren, a man selling rats in Kumarikkatta.
Rats are caught during the night when the harvest season is underway. The snare is made of bamboo and is kept in front of the rat holes. Any rat emerging out of its hole would end up in the snare. A night's work can produce 10-20 kg of rat meat.