As the death toll in Bihar's mid-day meal food poisoning case rose to 20, Union Minister for Human Resource Development MM Pallam Raju said on Wednesday that the government has taken a serious note of the incident and is hoping that other states and their respective authorities would exercise more caution.
"It is very sad to know about yesterday's incident where food poisoning has taken place and 20 children have lost their lives in Bihar and another 21 are hospitalised. We have taken serious note of what has happened and our additional secretary who looks after the midday meal program is already in Bihar," Raju told mediapersons in Delhi.
"Apparently, its looks like a case of contaminated food, but we are waiting for forensic reports. But, I think this is an example where we should exercise more caution. I do hope others will pick up from this. We are waiting for the forensic report which will be out later today (Wednesday) and we will know the reason then," he added.
According to reports, 27 children are undergoing treatment at the Patna Medical College And Hospital. They were admitted to the hospital after consuming mid-day meals served to them at a government primary school in Dahrmasati village, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Mashrakh Block, about 25 kilometers from Chhapra on Tuesday.
The children are reportedly aged between 8 and 12 years. They fell ill soon after eating the meal which consisted rice, pulses and soybeans.
State Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a high level enquiry into the incident. A forensic team will assist in the probe which will be conducted jointly by Saran Divisional Commissioner and Deputy Inspector General of Police.
Kumar has also announced a compensation of two lakh rupees each to the families of the deceased. The Union Human Resource Development Ministry has sent a senior official to Chhapra to take stock of the situation.