Patna: A mid day meal that proved fatal for school children in Chhapra in Bihar has left 20 dead and over 30 hospitalised. The state government has ordered an inquiry.
Tragedy struck Dharamsati village on Tuesday afternoon as more than 50 children, all aged between 8 and 12 years, fell seriously ill after eating the mid day meal at their school. "As soon as my son returned from school, we rushed to the hospital with him. His condition was not good. He was vomiting and said his stomach was paining," said a parent.
When the children started vomiting and fainting after the meal, the parents rushed them to the nearby primary health centre. As their condition worsened, they were taken to the Chhapra district hospital.
"The children are being treated. This is a very serious case of food poisoning. The items used to prepare the food have been confiscated for testing," said District Magistrate Abhijit Kumar.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar immediately summoned the HRD Minister and Departmental Secretary at his residence before rushing them to Chhapra. He also ordered an inquiry into the unfortunate incident, to be conducted by the Saran Commissioner and the DIG of Saran range.
The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the children who died. The Opposition, meanwhile, launched a scathing attack on the Nitish government.
"There is no responsible governance in Bihar. The BJP and JD(U) just keep fighting with each other. They have forgotten the people of Bihar," said RJD leader Lalu Prasad. "If the state government has any integrity, it will resign and go for elections to see if the people of Bihar have any faith in them at all," BJP leader Giriraj Singh said.
The Chhapra tragedy has raised serious questions over the quality of food being served to school children under the mid day meal scheme.