The Uttar Pradesh Police booked four people and a non-governmental organisation for negligence after a dead rat was found in the mid-day meal served at a school in Muzaffarnagar district, PTI reported on Wednesday.
Eight students and a teacher of the Janata Intermediate College in Pachenda village in Mustafabad area fell ill and were hospitalised briefly on Tuesday after some students found the dead rodent at the bottom of a container of urad dal.
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 the menu prescribed by the Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government, the children are supposed to be served tehri (a rice dish) and milk.
The police identified those booked as the school’s Principal Vinod Kumar, teachers Sanjive Kumar, Munnu Persad and Babita, and the NGO.
Additional District Magistrate Amit Kumar Singh had ordered an inquiry into the incident soon after it came to light. Singh said the police booked the five under Indian Penal Code Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 273 (sale of noxious food or drink).
Jan Kalyan Sanstha Samiti was also blacklisted, Singh said, adding that food samples from the supplier will now be tested.
The Uttar Pradesh government’s mid-day meal scheme has 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 showed 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.
These incidents came about two months after a government school in Mirzapur was found 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.
Last month, Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha that the most complaints about mid-day meal were reported from Uttar Pradesh. Fourteen of 52 complaints reported from across the country were from the northern state.