One student dead, 100 fall ill after ‘eating mid-day meal’ in Jharkhand’s Koderma district
A Class 6 student died and nearly 100 other students were hospitalised allegedly after eating the mid-day meal at a government school in Koderma district of Jharkhand, officials said.
Parents alleged that students in the school at Nawadih village in Koderma were served rotten and worm-laced gram with potato in the mid-day meal on Tuesday causing food poisoning.
Koderma administration has 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 on Thursday, adding, except two, the other students have been discharged from the hospital.
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.
““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 authorities 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. The teaching staff includes one 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 started developing health-related complications. Ten students fainted during the morning prayer in school on Wednesday morning. By evening, they were admitted to hospital and one died on way to Ranchi.”
She alleged the teachers have fled 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 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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