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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

9 students, teacher hospitalised after dead rat found in MDM

cities Updated: Dec 03, 2019 17:48 IST
S Raju and Rajeev Mullick
S Raju and Rajeev Mullick

MEERUT/LUCKNOW At least nine students and a teacher of an inter college in Muzaffarnagar were hospitalised on Tuesday, after they consumed mid-day meal (MDM), which allegedly had a dead rat in it.

They complained of giddiness after seeing the rat in the food and were taken to the district hospital for medical examination. All of them were provided treatment and discharged, said district officials.

Dr Navneet Bansal, emergency medical officer (Muzzafarnagar) said: “Nine students and a teacher were brought to the emergency. They were given treatment and no traces of any poison were found in them.”

District authorities ordered to register a case against the NGO responsible for distributing mid-day meal and the school staff who served it to students without proper check.

NGO Jan Kalyan Sanstha Committee was entrusted with the responsibility to serve mid-day meal in Janta Inter College. The organisation prepared the food at its designated site and delivered it to the college. On Tuesday afternoon, when the food was delivered, students spotted a dead rat in ‘dal-chawal’ when it was being served to them, said ADM (enforcement) Amit Singh.

District magistrate of Muzzafarnagar Silva Kumari J, ADM (enforcement) Amit Singh and chief medical officer rushed to the spot and directed the staff to take the students and the teacher for medical examination.

Singh claimed that nobody consumed the food after the rat was found in it and college principal Dr Vinod Kumar immediately reported the matter to the offices of the DM and the district inspector of schools (DIoS).

He said an order had been issued to lodge a case against the NGO and college staff who were responsible to check the quality of food before serving it to students and teachers.

Meanwhile, basic education minister Satish Dwivedi ordered basic shiksha adhikari of Muzaffarnagar to blacklist NGO Jan Kalyan Sanstha Committee that had distributed the meal.

Ordering a probe into the incident, the minister asked officials to ensure proper medical examination of students and teachers who reportedly consumed the meal.

He said, “A review meeting will be called soon to find a solution on how to ensure quality MDM to students. These incidents should not have happed in the first place. The guilty will not be spared.”

A senior official in the basic education department said in the last three years there had been only 22 complaints of poor quality MDM being distributed to students in 1.68 lakh schools.

In August, children at a government primary school in Mirzapur were served only ‘chapatis’ and salt in their MDM.

After this incident, basic education minister Satish Dwivedi on August 26 had announced the constitution of a flying squad to carry out surprise inspections of schools and assess the quality of MDM distributed among students.

On Wednesday, 81 students of a government primary school in UP’s Chopan area were allegedly served a litre of milk mixed with a bucket of water as part of the mid-day meal.

In wake of these incidents, the basic education department is set to conduct a time-bound social audit of MDM by reputed educational institutions of the state.

“Top institutions like the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L), University of Lucknow and others who have expertise in undertaking third-party verification will be asked to perform a comprehensive audit of the scheme,” said an official.

They will identify the problem areas and recommend ways and means to overcome the issues that occasionally plague the large-scale MDM distribution programme, he said.

“The experts will visit schools in 20 villages of each of the 75 districts of UP. They will interact with gram pradhans, school management committees (SMCs), members of the ‘Maa committees’ that supervise the quality of mid-day meals, teachers and students. Within three months, the auditors will submit a detailed report to the basic education department,” he added.