Midday meal horror: HRD Ministry report says proper action wasn't taken

New Delhi: An HRD Ministry report into the mid-day meal tragedy in Bihar has suggested emergency medical plan to avoid such incidents as it blamed the Saran district administration for failing to take corrective action despite being informed about its performance in handling the scheme.

The report also criticised the district administration for being lax in shifting the children to the nearest hospital and providing proper treatment.

 Midday meal horror: HRD Ministry report says proper action wasnt taken

Image for representation only. AFP

It said that Saran, where the incident unfolded, was one of the 144 most poorly performing districts in the country and it was brought to the notice of the district magistrate as well as the state authorities.

"This should have been followed with corrective action," the report prepared by Additional Secretary in the Ministry Amarjit Singh said.

Singh was sent to the state to prepare a first hand report about the tragedy that claimed the lives of 23 children.

He has recommended setting up of an effective management structure at various levels to prevent such incidents and safe storage and supply of ingredients to school and an emergency medical plan.

In this case, the report said, food grains and other food items were stored in the house of the head teacher who would issue daily quota of ration to cooks for cooking at school.

Noting that the incident was a case of "grave negligence", the report said that the contamination of the food was "substantial so as to cause death".

According to the report, the principal secretary of Bihar has confirmed that the viscera tests shows the food had been contaminated with organo phosphates.

It said that when the cook brought to the notice of the head teacher, now under police custody, about "peculiar smell" in the oil, she chided her (the cook) by saying the oil was procured from her own house and there was nothing wrong with it. She further ordered the cook to go ahead with the cooking.

The report stated that "rather than testing the food for herself, the head teacher insisted that the children eat the food, which led to the unfortunate incident".

PTI

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Updated Date: Jul 26, 2013 21:06:13 IST