The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident in which a minor girl died and four others fell sick allegedly after consuming food at an Anganwadi centre, officials said on Friday.
The four children are receiving treatment at various hospitals, district officials said.
The incident took place at Munjgawa village of Katni district, about 350 kilometres from Bhopal where reportedly 123 people had food at an Anganwadi centre on Thursday. However, the girl, identified as Gora Burman, along with four others showed signs of food poisoning. They were rushed to Katni district hospital where the girl died within 10 minutes and the two others, identified as Rani and Deepak, were rushed to Jabalpur hospital after their condition deteriorated. Whereas two others were receiving treatment at a local hospital, Katni in-charge civil surgeon KP Shrivastava said.
District collector Prakash Jangre said that a three- member probe committee led by sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) had been formed to probe into the incident. However, he said prima facie it seemed the five children of two families alone showed these symptoms after consuming food and the rest were fine. “Maybe, they (the five) ate something at home or while returning home. But things will be clear once the committee submits its report,” he said.
However, Shrivastava said he suspected that the children might have eaten something which contained neurotoxins as the children fell unconscious but didn’t have bouts of dysentery. “The picture will be clear after viscera of the deceased girl is sent for testing,”he said.
District education officer Katni Sachchidanand Pandey said that he too had sent the block education officer to prepare a report about the incident. This is not first such incident in the area. In December last year, three siblings had died of food poisoning in Panna district. In January, 58 children and 10 women fell sick due to food poisoning after they ate kheer (rice pudding) following the Republic Day celebrations at Betul district. In August last year, over 45 children fell ill after eating mid-day meal at a government school in Khandwa district.