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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Dead rat in mid-day meal sends 9 students, teacher in UP school to hospital

Uttar Pradesh’s basic education minister Satish Dwivedi ordered the blacklisting of the NGO which served the food and also a probe into the incident.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2019 19:42 IST
S Raju and Rajeev Mullick
S Raju and Rajeev Mullick
Hindustan Times, Meerut/Lucknow
At least nine students and a teacher of an inter college in Muzaffarnagar had to be briefly hospitalised on Tuesday after eating their mid-day meal (MDM) which had a dead rat in it
At least nine students and a teacher of an inter college in Muzaffarnagar had to be briefly hospitalised on Tuesday after eating their mid-day meal (MDM) which had a dead rat in it(HT Photo)
         

At least nine students and a teacher of an inter college in Muzaffarnagar had to be briefly hospitalised on Tuesday after eating their mid-day meal (MDM) which had a dead rat in it, officials said.

The inter-college has classes from first to 12th standard and mid-day mal is served to students till the 8th standard.

The nine students and the teacher who were among the first to be served, complained of giddiness after seeing the rat in the food and were taken to the district hospital for medical examination. All of them were discharged afte treatment, district officials said.

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 registration of a case against the NGO responsible for distributing mid-day meal and the school staff who served it to students without a 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 premises and delivered it to the college. On Tuesday afternoon, when the food was delivered and served to the first batch, 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 the chief medical officer Dr P S Mishra rushed to the spot and directed the staff to take the students and the teacher for medical examination.

Singh claimed that 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 for checking the quality of food before serving it to students and teachers.

Meanwhile, basic education minister Satish Dwivedi ordered the blacklisting of the NGO and a probe into the incident.

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

A senior official in the basic education department said in the last three years there had been only 22 complaints of poor quality mid-day meal given to students in 1.68 lakh government-aided schools in the state.

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

After this incident, Dwivedi on August 26 had announced the constitution of a flying squad to carry out surprise inspections of schools and assess the quality of mid-day meals.

On Wednesday, a government primary school in UP’s Chopan area allegedly mixed a litre of milk in a bucket of water to serve 81 student 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 the mid-day meal scheme 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 soon,” said an official who did not wish to be named.

They will identify the problem areas and recommend ways and means to overcome the issues that occasionally plague the large-scale mid-day meal 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.