Two three-year-old girls died on Tuesday reportedly after consuming milk supplied under a government welfare scheme at the Ketalnar village anganwadi centre in south Bastar’s Bijapur district.
The incident comes a month after the Chhattisgarh government launched the Mukhyamantri Amrit Yojana for distribution of milk to poor children.
Chief minister Raman Singh expressed shock over the death of the two girls and called an urgent meeting of officials at his residence. He asked the Bijapur district administration to investigate the matter.
“Ten children consumed the same milk at the centre [on Monday]. Six of them didn’t even show any symptom and are quite normal, so we can’t immediately conclude the milk as the cause for death,” Bijapur district collector Ayaz Tamboli, who visited Ketalnar, told HT. “Two children receiving treatment are absolutely safe. We are ascertaining if the affected children had consumed something other than the milk that proved fatal.”
The girls — RP Pudium and Permila Micha — complained of “uneasiness” and received initial treatment from a traditional healer in the village, the collector said, adding that the post-mortem report is awaited.
Singh had launched the milk scheme on April 29 this year from the strife-torn Sukma district during his ‘Lok Suraj Abhiyan’ with the objective to eradicate malnutrition among children. Under the scheme, 100 ml of sweetened and flavoured milk is provided to children three to six years of age every Monday at anganwadi centres in the state.
“Each and every aspect would be thoroughly examined,” said the chief minister, who directed women and child development minister Ramshila Sahu and school education minister Kedar Kashyap to rush to Ketalnar village to inquire into the incident.
Congress called the incident “criminal negligence” of the state government and demanded immediate arrest of those responsible.
DETAILS ABOUT THE SCHEME
1. *The Mukhyamantri Amrit Yojana will cover around 50,000 angadwadi centres in Chhattisgarh
2. *The aim is eradication of malnutrition among children
3. *Budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore earmarked for the scheme during the fiscal year 2016-17
4. *100 ml milk to each child in the age group of 3-6 years to be provided every Monday