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Maharashtra: Two specially abled children die due to suspected food poisoning

Punjab: 2 arrested, principal suspended as students fall ill from school mess

December 4, 2023
More than 70 students of a government school in Punjab’s Sangrur district were hospitalised as many of them complained of stomach ache and vomiting after eating in the hostel mess, officials said on Saturday. Taking serious note of the incident, the mess contractor and its incharge were arrested after police booked them under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), they said.

The principal of the government meritorious school at Ghabdan was also suspended for not taking any action on the students’ complaint about the food. In meritorious schools, students from Class 9 to 12 are enrolled and they are provided education, accommodation, food and other facilities free of cost.

Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains said an inquiry by the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has been ordered in the matter. 18 students of the government meritorious school at Ghabdan were rushed to the civil hospital on Friday evening after they complained of stomach ache and vomiting, an official said.

The officials suspect it to be a case of food poisoning. Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Jorwal on Saturday said a total of 73 students were brought to three different hospitals.

Eighteen students were brought to the civil hospital on Friday, he said, adding that 35 more students were brought to the civil hospital and another 20 were taken to PGI satellite centre in Ghabdan on Saturday. “Everyone is alright. Many students did not have symptoms when they came but they had anxiety. All were checked and adequate treatment was given. Everyone is discharged,” he said.

Minister Bains earlier enquired about the students at the civil hospital where he said most of the students were complaining of anxiety.

“The contractor’s licence has been cancelled, also he along with the mess incharge has been arrested under Section 307 of the IPC. The principal concerned is also being suspended for not taking timely action on students’ complaints,” Bains said.

The DC said an inquiry committee under the chairmanship of the SDM has been formed to probe the matter. A tehsildar and a civil surgeon will also be part of the committee, he said, adding that it would submit its report within a week.

He said food samples have been collected from the school, adding that stool and blood samples of the affected students have also been obtained. Students told reporters that they had earlier complained about the food quality to the school authorities.

Some angry parents who reached the school after they learnt about the incident slammed the school authorities over their wards falling sick. Minister Bains, in a video message, said he learned about the incident from the Sangrur deputy commissioner. He said a medical team has also been stationed on the school premises.

The minister said a joint team of education and health departments have been deputed to collect food samples in nine other government meritorious schools in the state as a precautionary measure. Speaking to reporters in Sangrur, the minister said in future, feedback form will be taken from the students of all the meritorious schools every month in order to stop such incidents completely.

Bains said he will go through the feedback forms and appropriate action will be taken on details given by students. He said information from the students revealed that after Diwali, there was a decline in the quality of food, about which these students also informed the school management, but the situation did not improve. Bains said the principal of the meritorious school has also been suspended with immediate effect.

Source: PTI
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