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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

State issues orders for attachment of property of Chapra principal

Arun Kumar, Hindustan Times  Patna, July 19, 2013
First Published: 19:06 IST(19/7/2013) | Last Updated: 19:08 IST(19/7/2013)

The state government on Friday issued orders for attachment of property of principal Meena Devi of the Dharma Sati primary school at Gandamal village in Chapra, even as it ordered the school moved from its present site and merged with the nearest middle school, where infrastructure for mid day meal was better.

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It also declared, that the role of senior deputy collectors and district education extension officers (BEEO), charged with the responsibility to monitor the mid day meal project, would be minutely looked into and accountability would be fixed.

Inquiry is being taken up also against a former BEEO, who was put under suspension four months ago.

Principal secretary, education and Bihar mid-day meal director R Lakshmanan, said, "The government had taken a policy decision, not to run building less schools from rented and dilapidated structures from now on and equip new units with full fledged kitchens for the meal scheme".

"If required, the merger of the Dharma Sati school does not go as planned, and it is required to run two shifts, the government will allow for that", Sinha added.

He appealed to school management committee members, made of mothers of studying children and elected representatives of panchayats to taste the food being served to monitor quality, even as he issued and appeal to civil society groups to act as watch dogs.

Lakshmanan added, that the meal scheme remains important in arresting dropouts and boosting enrollment and would be continued in a far better organised manner with full checks and balances, besides strict monitoring.

The daily expenditure on mid day meal will, as a rule, be displayed on school notice boards for greater transperancy in all schools of Bihar from now on. "People have a right to know how it is conducted and funded", Lakshmanan said.

The officials said, the decision to move the school had been taken in view of the resentment of locals and the fact, that the children who died after consuming the poisoned food had been buried on its grounds. Also the school is presently located too close to a cremation ground.

Sinha informed, the Chapra police is in hot pursuit of principal Meena Devi and her husband, the vendor who supplied mid day meal rations to the primary school and are named in the FIR while the other teacher, Kalpana, who was absent on the day has been issued a show cause notice.

The officials said, however, with viscera reports still not available, identification of the exact poisonous substance used in the food would take more time. However, the report

was expected to be placed in court on Saturday, Sinha informed.

Meena Devi, according to the FIR filed, is the prime suspect behind the incident.

She has said to have forced the female cook to use the oil, despite the cook's complaint that the oil had a pungent smell and had turned black after being placed over fire to cook a vegetable with potato and soyabeans.

The cook lost two of her three kids and is herself hospitalised-being treated for severe shock and trauma besides poisoning at the Patna medical college hospital.

Superintendent of police, Chapra, Sujit Kumar said, the report of the viscera examination was awaited before a chargesheet can be filed. The police on Friday went to the principals house, which was found to be locked.


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