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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

Dead rat in MDM: FIR lodged against NGO, school principal and three others

NGO president calls it a conspiracy to malign his organisation

lucknow Updated: Dec 04, 2019 20:05 IST

The UP education department lodged an FIR against the principal, two assistant teachers and a staff member of the Janta Inter College in Muzaffarnagar, where a dead rat was allegedly found in the mid-day meal served to students on Tuesday, as well as the NGO that was supplying food to the institute. The accused have been charged with negligence, said police.

To recall, nine students and a teacher of the school had to be hospitalised after they consumed the meal.

District coordinator (MDM) Vikas Kumar Tygai on Tuesday night lodged an FIR against school principal Dr Vinod Kumar, assistant teachers Sandeev Kumar and Munnu Prasad, staffer Babita (goes by one name) and the NGO ‘Jan Kalyan Shiksha Vikas Samiti’, Hapur.

“The accused were booked under sections 269 (for negligence likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 273 (for sale or distribution of noxious food or drink) of the Indian Penal Code,” said the basic shiksha adhikari of Muzaffarnagar, Ram Sagar Pati Tripathi. He said that the case was registered at the Nai Mandi police station of the district.

The official said that the NGO, which has been blacklisted now, was distributing MDM in about over 25 schools in five blocks of the district.

Conspiracy to malign us: NGO president

Sanjay Kumar, president of ‘Jan Kalyan Shiksha Vikas Samiti’ alleged that the incident was “pre-planned” and there was a “conspiracy to malign his organisation” that has been distributing mid-day meals in 26 schools since January 5, 2019.

“In these 11 months, there has been no complaint about the quality of our meals. This is the first time that such a thing has happened. For unknown reasons, school principal Dr Vinod Kumar was not very keen to take mid-day meals from our NGO. However, because of our contract we had to distribute the meal to his school too,” Kumar told HT over phone.

He said that when people from his NGO reached the school after getting information about a dead rat in food, no government official was found there.

“Instead, there were media persons. This shows that the media was informed first and the officials much later. We believe this was done to malign the NGO,” said Kumar.

He said that the meal was sent to the school at 9.45 am and was distributed at 10 am. “As per the norm, the school teacher who receives the meal gives us a receiving. But this school, at times, did not give us receiving. On Tuesday too we did not get a receiving. Also, MDM is supposed to be distributed during recess. These days, the school day begins at 9 am and ends at 3 pm, so, MDM should have been distributed at noon, not at 10 am,” said Kumar.

He further said that the doctors who attended to the hospitalised persons after the incident had said that all of them were in good health. “All the children and the teacher were discharged from the hospital the same day,” said Kumar.

He further said, “Our meals are cooked at 250-300 degree Celsius temperatures. There’s no way that a dead rat with intact body would be found in it.”

Kumar said that although they had been told verbally that the NGO had been blacklisted, nothing had come to them in writing.

What happened?

According to the FIR, ‘dal-rice’ was served to the students on Tuesday. After a dead rat was spotted in the bowl of a student Raja Kumar, the MDM distribution was stopped. However, nine students -- Aman Kumar, Prashant, Hans, Shivam, Harsh, Devansh Raj, Anshu, Himanshu and Sagar -- and assistant teacher Munnu Prasad, who is a part of the school’s MDM distribution committee, had to be hospitalised after they complained of ‘giddiness’. They were discharged after being given treatment.

On the same day, district magistrate of Muzaffranagar Silva Kumari J held several meetings to ensure there was no repeat of such an incident.

“The DM has also formed a committee of principals, teachers and local cooks to get the meal prepared, as the NGO is blacklisted now. The step was taken to ensure that students don’t go back with empty stomachs,” said ADM (enforcement) Amit Singh.

He said that a committee would be formed soon to monitor the quality of meals being supplied by other NGOs.

Soon after the incident, UP basic education minister Satish Dwivedi had said, “A review meeting will be called soon. These incidents should not happen in the first place. The guilty will not be spared.”