HRD Minister forms a new committee for mid-day meal scheme, says it is not the responsibility of state alone

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 20, 2013 12:40 hrs

Human Resources Development Minister M M Pallam Raju today said that it is a collective responsibility and not just the responsibility of the state alone to ensure that the mid-day meal initiative is properly implemented all over the country.

"It is the responsibility of the local committee, school management committee and the district administration to ensure things are going to function well," he said while addressing the media here today.

"We want to definitely strengthen the mid-day meal initiative and we are concerned that it should be properly implemented all over the country. We have constituted a new committee which will look into the hygiene quality and the standards of the mid-day meal programme," he added.

He also said that the job of the monitoring committee is to find out the loopholes and the short comings and it had particularly pointed out defects in these twelve districts.

Earlier, the district magistrate of Chhapra in Bihar, Abhijit Sinha, said today that a police case has been filed against the absconding headmistress of the school which had served contaminated mid-day meals to students, resulting in the death of 23 of them. Sinha also said that police have launched a search for her.

"From criminal side also a case has been filed against her under the section 302 and 328. And police is carrying out raids at all the possible locations to apprehend her and interrogate her and find out more about how such a thing happened. But even otherwise also the utter negligence part that the principal displayed in this case which led to such a tragedy that is there and we hope to reach a conclusion in this case pretty soon," he said.

According to reports, 23 children have died so far after eating a free mid-day meal at their school in Bihar's Chhapra district on July 16.

More than 30 others are undergoing treatment at the Patna Medical College and Hospital. They were admitted to the hospital after consuming mid-day meals served to them at a government primary school in Dahrmasati village, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Mashrakh Block, about 25 kilometers from Chhapra on July 16.

A day after this incident, many kids took ill in Bihar's Madhubani district and had to be rushed to hospital when they complained of severe stomach cramps after eating the food served to them.

A high-level inquiry set up by the Bihar Government to probe the midday meal tragedy, has blamed the principal for it.

The children are reportedly aged between 8 and 12 years. They fell ill soon after eating the meal which consisted rice, pulses and soybeans.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident.

Nitish Kumar has also announced a compensation of two lakh rupees each to the families of the deceased. The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has sent a senior official to Chhapra to take stock of the situation. (ANI)

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