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School meal leaves 26 children in hospital

Police have registered an FIR after a formal complaint was received from Delhi school

Students undergo treatment at a hospital in New Delhi.

New Delhi: As many as 26 students of a government school here were hospitalised after eating their mid-day meal prompting the Delhi government to order inspections of all mid-day meal kitchens in the city.

Police have registered an FIR after a formal complaint was received from the school.

A police officer said the 26 students of classes 6 to 8 fell sick after having the meal at their school in Narela area of north Delhi. They were then rushed to Satyawadi Raja Harish Chandra Hospital.

“Early symptoms included abdominal pain, dizziness and vomiting,” the officer said. “We have initiated an inquiry to find out if it was negligence on part of the school or the food caterer.”

Though the children’s condition improved after a few hours, they are still under observation and haven’t been discharged yet, he added.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia ordered inspection of all mid-day meal kitchens in the city and warned of strict action, including termination of contract and suspension of officials if negligence found on their part.

“This is a serious matter. Officials have been told to inspect all the kitchens over the next week and take strict action if any irregularity is found. All the stakeholders will have to get their act together otherwise, they may face suspension,” he said.

Sisodia, who also holds the Education portfolio, said that the Education Department will hold a meeting with those responsible for the mid-day meal scheme on Thursday.

Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam visited the hospital to inquire about the students’ condition. He said all the children were doing fine. “They had complained of pain and difficulty in breathing,” he said.

“We will not tolerate any negligence about the health of the students. We will take strict action against the supplier. It is unfortunate that even after repeated warnings, such incidents are recurring,” he said.

Last week, two girls were hospitalised after having their mid-day meal in their school, which is run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The vendor was booked after the police received a complaint from the principal.

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