Afsari Perveen, a seven-year-old student, is the latest victim of a mishap that occurred during the distribution of mid-day meal at Government Middle School, Kolhaya-Kanadu (under Pithoria block in Ranchi district) on Monday.
While waiting in the queue to collect the daily quota of her meal, seven-year old Afsari fell into the cauldron of boiling dal (lentils) after some students reportedly shoved past her while trying get ahead of her.
She suffered burns on most of her body. Although teacher Akhtar Ansari took the girl to Kanke Nursing Home, she succumbed to her injuries during the treatment. No post mortem was conducted on Afsari’s body.
Following the incident, agitated villagers reportedly demanded immediate removal of the teachers responsible for the incident and ex-gratia worth Rs 1,00,000 to Afsari’s family.
Taking immediate punitive action, the human resources development (HRD) department rescinded the services of three para teachers and ordered transfer of two regular teachers with the school.
Soon after the incident, district superintendent of education Pradeep Chaubey visited Kolhaya-Kanadu village. Prima facie, an ill-managed cooking and service system was responsible for the mishap. No teacher was reportedly present, when the food was being distributed.
Speaking over the telephone from Bangalore, director primary education D K Saxena said: “The incident was a result of teachers’ carelessness. They should have been present at the time of serving. We have taken disciplinary action against them. From now on, it will be mandatory for the headmaster and teacher in charge of the mid-day meal to taste the cooked food before serving it to the students throughout the state.
Saxena, however, said though the victim came to collect food, she was not a regular student. Afsari was enrolled with a local anganwadi. Interestingly, Saxena and HRD secretary Mridula Sinha and others are in Karnataka to study models of mid-day meal schemes for a replication in Jharkhand.