Bengal: Snake found in mid-day meal, 30 kids fall ill
At least 30 school children were hospitalized in West Bengal's Birbhum district on Monday after consuming food in which a snake was allegedly found, PTI reported, citing officials. The students of a primary school in Mayureswar fell ill after consuming the food served to them as part of the mid-day meal scheme on Monday, the news agency said.
Snake found in a container with lentils
According to reports, a school staffer who had prepared the meal for school children claimed that a snake was found in one of the containers filled with lentils. Soon after the discovery, he informed the higher officials of the school. Reportedly, the children who ate the food started vomiting. They were immediately rushed to Rampurhat Medical College and Hospital for treatment.
What did officials say?
Block Development Officer (BDO) Dipanjan Jana stated that some people have complained about their children becoming unwell after eating lunch at school. "I have informed the district inspector of primary schools. He will visit on January 10," Jana said. Most of the children have been discharged from the hospital, he said, adding that only one child is still in the hospital but is stable.
Parents hold protests against school administration
Meanwhile, parents and guardians of children held protests against the school administration. According to the police, the protesters also gheraoed the headmaster of the school and vandalized his two-wheeler. However, the gherao was later lifted, they said.
Complaints galore about contaminated food given in mid-day meal
This is not the first incident reported in the country. Lizards and rodents have been found in the mid-day meals several times earlier too. Reportedly, mid-day meal was also found unhygienic in some states. Last year, children were given rotten eggs, which had worms in them, in a Tamil Nadu government school. These eggs were distributed at an Anganwadi center under the scheme.
Bihar's mid-day meal tragedy of 2013
On July 16, 2013, nearly 23 children aged four to twelve years old died after consuming a mid-day meal at a government primary school in Chhapra district of Bihar. The children, between classes I and V, complained of stomach ache, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some of them died on the spot while others died at home or in hospital.
What is mid-day meal scheme?
The mid-day meal scheme started on August 15, 1995. Earlier, it mandated providing designated ration every month to the government school children studying in classes 1-5. However, in 2001, following the Supreme Court intervention, schools started serving cooked lunches to children in all primary schools to ensure they come to school and get nutritious food.