Thiruvananthapuram

School students hospitalised

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Four students of the Ponnara Sreedhar Memorial Upper Primary School in Muttathara were taken ill for suspected food poisoning, triggering an agitation at the school on Monday.

The students, three of whom hailed from a family, were admitted to SAT Hospital here after they developed uneasiness, including vomiting, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea. The students had consumed boiled egg and milk provided by the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation-run school on Wednesday. Since Friday, they sought treatment at various hospitals at Valiyathura, Fort and Thycaud, before being referred to SAT Hospital.

While two students were discharged on Monday, the others continue to be under treatment. Among them, the condition of a Class 5 student, kept on ventilator, is critical, according to hospital authorities.

Cheriyathura resident Nicholas, whose daughter, a LKG student, was among those hospitalised alleged that rotten, foul-smelling eggs had been served to students, some of whom refused to consume them. Besides, the eggs had not been purchased from an approved outlet, he alleged.

Protest

Hearing about the incident, other guardians and activists of the DYFI launched a protest and attempted to barge into the Headmistress’s room, prompting the Fort police to intervene to bring the situation under control.

Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V.K. Prasanth and Deputy Mayor Rakhi Ravikumar visited the school and took stock of the situation. Later, Mr. Prasanth told mediapersons that there were lapses on the part of the school officials. They had failed to report the incident to the government, local body or even, the ward councillor. Stringent action would be recommended against those responsible, he added.

Probe launched

Education standing committee chairperson S. Unnikrishnan said it was yet to be ascertained whether the students had fallen ill after consuming the eggs, which all of the 140 students in the school had consumed. Nevertheless, the parents-teachers association (PTA) president and the class teacher had failed to report the incident to the Headmistress. A probe into the issue has been launched by both the Corporation and the police.

The Corporation’s health wing and food safety officials inspected the premises and the storeroom where food items were kept. The police have registered a case, invoking various provisions including Section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code.

In a statement, V.S. Sivakumar, MLA, who visited the children, has demanded a comprehensive probe into the incident. The government must also ensure specialised treatment for those were hospitalised.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:28:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/school-students-hospitalised/article24256958.ece

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