NHRC notice to Bihar govt over 184 students falling ill after consuming midday meal

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the Bihar government over the reports of 184 students falling ill in a West Champaran school after consuming midday meal.

The commission has sought a detailed report in the matter within four weeks, the human rights body said in a statement.

The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that 184 students of a government-run school at Bansgaon Parsauni in West Champaran fell ill after consuming midday meal on Monday.

Reportedly, the students complained of getting the smell of kerosene oil from the meal. They also complained of stomach aches and vomiting after which they were taken to the hospitals, the statement said.

"The commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, amount to a serious violation of the human rights of the students. The reported incident indicates towards supervisory lapse on the part of the school authorities perhaps due to which unhygienic food was prepared and served to the children," it said.

"The commission has issued a notice to the chief secretary, government of Bihar, calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. It should include the steps taken/proposed to be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

"The commission would like to know whether the government guidelines are being followed by the particular school, if not, then what action has been taken against the officers/officials responsible for the negligence," the statement said.

The NHRC has noted that there are certain guidelines issued by the Central government to all the states and Union territories about food safety and hygiene in school kitchens for preparing and serving midday meal. The tasting of the food and maintaining its record by a teacher is also mandatory before serving it to the children, it stated.

According to the media report, carried on Tuesday, students were taken to the Bettiah Government Medical College and Hospital and Government Sub-Divisional Hospital Bagaha. The headmaster of the school has been detained, it added. PTI NIT NIT KVK KVK