At least 230 government school students in Odisha’s Malkangiri and Kalahandi districts fell ill on Thursday and Friday, allegedly after eating their midday meals.
In Malkangiri’s Badapada village, 150 girls of a government-run residential school were taken to a local hospital when they started vomiting and complaining of stomach ache after breakfast, said Ramkrishna Gond, the project administrator of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency. Gond said officials were investigating the incident. Similar cases were reported from the Kalahandi district, where at least 80 students from five schools fell ill after eating their meals in school on Thursday, according to a PTI report. District Education Officer Pradip Kumar Naik said the students were treated and many have already been discharged from hospital.
The cases come just a month after more than a hundred students of a government school near Bhubaneshwar fell ill after eating meals served to them in school. In February 2017, nine students of a government school in Deoli, a town in Delhi’s south district, were hospitalised after eating midday meals in which dead rats were allegedly found.
In August, the Supreme Court asked the Centre and states how they were monitoring the implementation of the midday meal schemes in government schools and ensuring hygiene, after a Public Interest Litigation highlighted how, while government school children receive free, cooked lunch every day, they are constantly exposed to the risk of food poisoning in the absence of proper monitoring.