Mid-day meal: Tests confirm 'acute poisoning'

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 23, 2013 09:41 hrs

Patna: Serum tests of four children, who are critical after consuming their mid-day meal at a primary school in Chhapra distirct last week, has confirmed that they suffered from 'acute poisoning', said reports on Tuesday.

The tests were conducted on blood samples of the four children held in Mumbai.

According to reports, the results also suggested that a toxic substance was mixed with the food immediately before it was served to the victims.

Meanwhile, Bihar Education Minister P K Shahi on Monday said the state government would be unable to prevent recurrence of the mid-day meal tragedy that resulted in the deaths of 23 children due to poisoned school lunch.

The state government has earlier said the incident might have been a conspiracy.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Shahi said, "As a minister, how can I guarantee that in 72,000 schools across the state, there won't be any poison in the food if somebody is hell bent on doing so?"

The statement came on a day when a Bihar court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against the principal of the school.

The headmistress of the Chhapra school, Meena Devi, who has been named in a First Information Report (FIR), is absconding.

Officials on Saturday said the forensic report of the school lunch showed that traces of insecticides were found in the collected meal sample.

"The report found Monocrotophos, an organophosphorous compound, in the samples of oil and the food sample that was collected," said Ravinder Kumar, Additional Director General (ADG) of Police, Patna.

"It was also observed from the data available in the FSL report that the peak area of the poisonous substance in the oil was more than five times in comparison to the commercial preparation used as a control," he said.

"It is a matter of investigation that how it came into the food," Kumar said, adding that Monocrotophos was a common pesticide and is very toxic to human beings and animals.

A probe report into the deaths of the children after consuming mid-day meal at the government school in Chhapra, on Friday said there was mismanagement among all those people involved in implementing the scheme.

The report, prepared by the Saran Police Commissioner, alleged criminal negligence by the school principal.

It said the cooking oil used in the preparation of the meal was highly contaminated and that the rice was contaminated with large amounts of pesticide.

The report has been submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource.

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