Eight students and a teacher of a school in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district fell ill on Tuesday after a dead rat was found in the mid-day meal served at the institution, PTI reported.
The district administration has ordered an inquiry into the incident, which took place at the Janata Intermediate College in Pachenda village in Mustafabad area, Additional District Magistrate Amit Kumar Singh said. He added that the nine people were sent to a hospital after they fell ill but claimed that no one had eaten the food at the time. They were discharged after about an hour.
The mid-day meal was supplied to the school by NGO Jan Kalyan Sanstha Samiti of Hapur. It was meant for students between Classes 6 and 8, according to NDTV. According to the menu prescribed by Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government, the children are supposed to be served tehri (a rice dish) and milk.
A Class 6 student told the news channel: “As we took the dal with a spoon we saw a mouse... it was in the bottom of a container of urad dal.” He added that 15 people had already eaten the food by the time the rodent was discovered.
Some reports claimed an FIR was registered against the NGO but there has been no official confirmation.
The Uttar Pradesh government’s mid-day meal scheme has often been in the news lately. Last week, a state-run primary school in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh allegedly served adulterated milk to the students under the mid-day meal scheme. A video of the incident was widely shared on social media. The video shows a cook of the government’s mid-day meal programme mixing a packet of one-litre milk with a bucket of water to feed around 81 students at Salai Banwa Primary School in Kota village.
Last month, Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha that the maximum number of complaints about mid-day meal was reported from Uttar Pradesh. Fourteen of 52 complaints reported from across the country were from the northern state.
These incidents came about two months after a government school in Mirzapur was found to be serving chapatis with salt to school children as part of the mid-day meal programme. After the video of the incident went viral, the local journalist who first reported it was booked for criminal conspiracy.