Millennium Post

Mid-day meal toll rises to 23

One more child has died in the midday meal tragedy in Chhapra taking the toll to 23, while 25 others, including 24 children and a cook, were under treatment in the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

The district administration has come to know about the death of a child, who was buried by family-members without informing the authorities, Saran district magistrate Abhijit Sinha said.

Seventeen school children died in the Sadar Hospital in Chhapra, four were declared brought dead on arrival to PMCH on late Tuesday night and two lost their lives during treatment at PMCH on Wednesday. PMCH Superintendent Amarkant Jha Azad contradicted media reports about some fresh deaths including that of the cook Manju Devi.

Saran DM said that the officials had checked by visiting every house in the vicinity of Dharmasati Gandavan village to know about any death about which the authority has no knowledge. He said that the principal of the school, Meena Devi, is absconding with her husband and the police was conducting raids against them. The principal, against whom an FIR has been lodged, has already been suspended by the administration.

The DM said that the government primary school, where the tragedy took place, had been closed till further order. ‘The condition of all 25, including 24 children and woman cook Manju Devi, is improving,’ Azad said. The condition of the children who survived after consuming contaminated mid-day meal in their school in Bihar’s Saran district is now stable, a health official said here on Thursday. Twenty-five sick children were shifted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in the Bihar capital Tuesday night after their condition deteriorated.

‘All the sick children are now out of danger. They are likely to be discharged in the next three to four days as their condition is stabilising,’ PMCH superintendent Amarkant Jha Azad said. He added that the children have started responding. ‘Smile has returned to their faces which is a big relief to their worried parents,’ Jha said.

All the sick children are from Dandaman village of Saran district, about 100 km from here. Twenty-two children died after eating contaminated mid-day meal at the government primary school in Dandaman Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Bihar minister Parween Amanullah was on Thursday attacked and held up for some time by a mob in Vaishali district which was agitating over the midday meal tragedy in the state. Amanullah, who is the minister for social welfare, was on her way to Muzaffarpur from Patna when the protesters, who had blockaded National Highway 77 near Rai Birendra College, about 5km from Hajipur town, pelted her car with stones, forcing it to halt.
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