Four students have died after consuming contaminated food in a hostel at the tribal-dominated Niwali village in Madhya Pradesh.
The students of Kasturba Vanvasi Kanya Ashram in Barwani district, around 200 km from here, consumed the food on August 14, the District Collector N.B.S. Rajput told HT. The symptoms started showing the next day.
Around 92 girls have been admitted to various hospitals after developing symptoms of food poisoning, K.K. Mishra, Niwali Police Station Officer, said.
A magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident, officials said.
Three girls — identified as Savita Gangaram Barela (11), Kavita Motiram (13) and Rita Hawaldar (11) of Gawali village — died during treatment in Niwali on August 15. While Saraswati (9) of Sakad village died on Tuesday, Niwali police said. The girls were getting ready to participate in the Independence Day function when some fell unconscious, they said.
Police records show that the school authorities had pinned the blame on contaminated water from a well in the hostel’s premises. But the district authorities differ.
“We are not able to ascertain the cause of the illness. The hostel has been using the water from the well for some time now. The sudden illness can only be explained through contaminated food the girls ate on August 14,” Rajput said.
Mishra said the girls had eaten ‘khichadi’ and ‘halwa’ (sweet dish). The police are waiting for the postmortem and other test reports to ascertain the cause of the food poisoning. Around 1,071 girls are studying in the school.