Patna mid-day meal toll rises to 19
Patna: The death toll of children who fell ill after having mid-day meal at a state-run primary school in Bihar's Saran district, rose to 19 today.
Confirming the deaths, Principal Secretary, education, Amarjeet Sinha said that he suspected the deaths occurred by organo phosphorous poisoning caused due to traces of insecticides. Till late night yesterday, District Magistrate Abhijit Sinha said 10 children died after the mid-day meal at Dharamsati primary school in Masrakh in Saran, about 100 km from here. But later nine more children died. More than 60 children fell ill too.
Over two dozen sick children have been brought to the Patna Medical College and Hospital after their condition deteriorated."Some ten children are still critical," a hospital official said. Nitish Kumar expressed shock over the incident and announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh to the kin of each of the dead school children.
In Bihar, widespread corruption is reported in the mid-day meal scheme and government guidelines on food quality are ignored. In past, dead lizards, frogs, insects and a rat were found in the food cooked for the mid-day meal, angering students and parents.
Reacting on the rumours that Congress may name Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman, Nandan Nilekani as its candidate for Prime Minister, JD(U) Leader Shivanand Tiwari said the move could be suicidal for the party.
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