A dead rat was found in the midday meal to be served to students of the Government Composite Secondary School at Katipalla on Monday.

A notice has been issued to Akshaya Patra Foundation of International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which has been serving midday meal to 148 schools here for the last six years.

Headmaster Narayan Shettigar said the food came to the school around noon. When the rat was found in a vessel containing sambar, the block education officer and Mr. Shettigar decided against serving it to children. “It happened when all the children were standing in line for the food,” said Ramesh Devadiga, whose two daughters study in the school.

Mr. Devadiga is also the president of the School Development and Monitoring Committee. Mr. Devadiga said the committee members and local councillor Tilak Raj Krishnapura arranged some biscuits and bananas for children. “Only a few took them,” he said.

The 131 students in this school belong to families who were evacuated for the New Mangalore Port Trust. Most of them are from economically weaker sections of society.

Observation

K.L. Manjula, Education Officer of Akshara Dasoha midday meal scheme, who visited the school with Deputy Director of Public Instruction Moses Jayashekar, said the rat could not have fallen into the vessel at the school as it was covered. It could have happened at the time of packing, she said.

Meanwhile, ISKCON Mangalore has refuted the allegation that the rat could have come from their factory.

“Five people supervise the filling of vessels from the sambar tank. If there was a rat in the sambar, they would have spotted it…There are similar arrangements in the van transporting vessels to schools,” Nandana Acharya Das, ISKCON manager (operations), said, adding that an investigation was on.