NEW DELHI

Nine children die, 50 fall ill after consuming mid-day meal in Bihar

School children being treated at a hospital in Chapra on Tuesday in Bihar when they complained of sickness after consuming the mid-day meal.- Photo: PTI

School children being treated at a hospital in Chapra on Tuesday in Bihar when they complained of sickness after consuming the mid-day meal.- Photo: PTI  

Government announces compensation of Rs.2 lakh to the family of the deceased children

Nine children lost their lives and nearly 50 fell seriously ill after consuming the mid-day meal in Bihar’s Saran district on Tuesday.

All the children are between three and 12 years of age. They were admitted to the government hospital in Chapra .

The nine children died of “food poisoning and yellow phosphorous poisoning”, district civil surgeon Shambhunath Singh told The Hindu .

“The children were admitted with symptoms of poisoning such as fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and frothing at the mouth,” Dr. Singh said.

The incident took place at the Gandaman primary school in Jajauli panchayat in Mashrakh block. The block administration received information about children taking ill around 3 p.m.

Tuesday’s menu comprised rice, dal and potato and soya bean vegetable. “Since this is a newly established school, it did not have a building and was operating from the panchayat bhavan. The food was stored at the house of the headmistress . The two cooks are also unwell. About 34 children were admitted to the hospital in Chapra, of which one is serious. The rest are out of danger. This is a very tragic incident,” said Amarjit Sinha, Principle Secretary, Health Department.

Mr. Sinha said the children were responding positively to atropine, which pointed to these being cases of poisoning due to pesticide. Forensic experts have been rushed to the spot and food samples have been taken.

Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar vowed to take strict action against those responsible for the incident. A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident. The Divisional Commissioner of Chapra and Deputy Inspector General of the police will conduct a joint probe into the incident and submit a report to Mr. Kumar. The State Government announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh to the family of the deceased children. The school was established in 2010 and had an enrolment of 89 children of which 58 were present on Tuesday. New schools sanctioned in Bihar usually operate from government buildings due to non-availability of land for a separate school buildings. In an official statement, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry said senior official Amarjeet Singh was rushed to Bihar to assess the situation .

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