A Class 6 student died and over 60 children were hospitalised allegedly after eating mid-day meal at a government middle school in Nawadih village in Koderma district(HT File Photo)
A Class 6 student died and over 60 children were hospitalised allegedly after eating mid-day meal at a government middle school in Nawadih village in Koderma district(HT File Photo)

One dies, 60 students hospitalized after ‘eating mid-day meal’ in Koderma

Parents alleged that students were served rotten and worm-laced gram with potato in the mid-day meal causing food poisoning to students.
By Sanjoy Dey | Hindustan Times, Ranchi
UPDATED ON AUG 31, 2018 03:11 PM IST

A Class 6 student died and over 60 children were hospitalised allegedly after eating mid-day meal at a government middle school in Nawadih village in Koderma district, around 170-km north of capital Ranchi, officials said on Thursday.

Parents alleged that students were served rotten and worm-laced gram with potato in the mid-day meal causing food poisoning to students.

Koderma administration ordered a probe into the matter.

“A probe team under sub-divisional magistrate has been set up in this regard,” Koderma deputy commissioner (DC), Bhuvnesh Pratap Singh said, adding, except two, condition of other students are stable and they were released from the hospital.

“Two students are still under doctor’s observation in sadar hospital,” he said.

The deceased was identified as Manish Kumar, 12. His father Manoj Yadav lodged a complaint with the Domchanch police station alleging carelessness on the part of the school management committee, said Vinod Kumar, police station in-charge.

Yadav alleged children in the school had been served rotten and worm laced gram with potato besides rice in mid-day meal on Tuesday.

“Around 4pm, we found Manish was vomiting and by the night he was shivering with fever. I took my son to referral hospital in Domchanch on Wednesday morning but hospital authority referred him to sadar hospital. Doctors at sadar hospital told to take my son to RIMS for better treatment. But, he died on way to Ranchi in the evening,” Yadav said.

Over 200 students from Class 1 to Class 8 are served mid-day meal every day at the upgraded middle school, Nawadih in Domchanch block. Teachers’ strength in the school is five, including a government teacher and four para teachers.

Mukhiya (village head) of Nawadih panchayat Kumud Devi said, “After eating mid-day meal on Tuesday, over 100 students had started developing health related complications. Ten students had fainted during the prayer in school on Wednesday morning. By the evening, all of them reached hospital and one died on way to Ranchi.”

She alleged the teachers have fled away after closing the school on Thursday. “No official from the education department has yet visited the school,” she said.

Koderma civil surgeon Dr Yogendra Mahto said over 60 students were brought to sadar hospital on Wednesday evening with symptoms of food poisoning.

“They were given treatment accordingly and most of them were released on Thursday afternoon,” he said.

However, Shiv Mehta, a para teacher in the school, denied the charges of students’ falling ill due to mid-day meal.

“The students had been served gram with potato and rice in the lunch on Tuesday and no problem occurred that day. They came to school as usual on Wednesday and had the meal as usual. If there was something in the mid-day meal, students would have fallen ill by Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning,” he said.

The mid-day meal scheme in Jharkhand had come under the scanner earlier as well after instances of children falling ill due to poor hygiene conditions came to light. Besides, activists allege that the meal served doesn’t meet the nutritional standards set by the Right to Education Act, 2009.

According to figures with the state school education department, there are more than 45,000 government schools across the state where more than 52 lakh students up to Class 8 are provided with free lunch and served the mid-day meal.

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