Midday meal: action likely against Urdu school in D.J. Halli

Many students have not eaten lunch for four days

Published - September 26, 2014 01:54 am IST - Bangalore:

The Urdu Higher Primary School at D.J. Halli in Bangalore.  — Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

The Urdu Higher Primary School at D.J. Halli in Bangalore. — Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

The Health Department is expected to make the authorities at the Government Urdu Higher Primary School in D.J. Halli accountable for mishandling the midday meal served to children that resulted in 360 children taking ill. This follows the confirmation that food was contaminated at the “handing” level in the school. Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader told The Hindu that he would discuss the matter with the Education Department before deciding on the future course of action.

Meanwhile, a majority of the students in the school in D.J. Halli, where food was being served, refused to eat food for the fourth successive day. Twenty of the 775 students in the Girls Primary School ate food. While the school normally requires seven cans of food, on Thursday only one can was used.

On the other hand, Education Department officials are also exploring the possibility of a probable sabotage angle of food being contaminated on the school premises.

Bangalore Urban District Health Officer (DHO) M. Rajani said that the detection of E.Coli and Enterobacter in the food samples indicated that the contamination could have happened at the handling level (while mixing and serving the food) and not at the preparation level as the growth of the bacteria was not of pathological level. Samples of plain rice and sambhar were collected and sent to the State Public Health Institute (PHI) for bacteriological analysis which indicated the presence of E.Coli and Enterobacter.

Vinay Kumar, general manager (operations) of Akshaya Patra Foundation of ISKCON, which had supplied food to the school said that they had replied to the officials concerned that there was no chance of the food being contaminated at the cooking or transportation level as they had taken several precautionary measures.

Satellite kitchens

On the sidelines of a programme, Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Ratnakar said the department would urge NGOs engaged in midday meal scheme in the State to set up satellite kitchens based on the Joint Review Mission (JRM) of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) recommendation, which had put a cap on distance covered by NGOs to 20 km.

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