M A I N   N E W S

Mid-day meal kills two
Prabhjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Kandwala (Fazilka), March 19
Villagers of Kandwala, a sleepy village near Fazilka, have reason to seek sealing of the food meant for the mid-day meal in their primary school, as the stock has allegedly taken its toll with the death of two women and four of their kids hospitalised after they consumed the wheat in question.

Punjab Health officials have taken samples of the wheat from the Kandwala primary school, and the stock now has been sealed, eventually halting centrally sponsored mid-day meal scheme in the village.

On last Saturday night the four siblings, along with their mother Jaswinder Kaur and grandmother Sammi Bai, consumed the ‘chapattis’ made from the wheat given to these children in their school. After they were hospitalised, the grandmother breathed her last on Monday, while the mother succumbed to food poisoning yesterday.

Fazilka SDM Rajiv Prashar today convened a meeting of the officials from the separate departments of Education, Food Supply and Health, and recorded the statements of the teachers, who reportedly had distributed the wheat to several schoolchildren.

Significantly, five pigeons and a sparrow had also also died after they consumed certain grains when the wheat was being grinded, the SDM said, pointing out the findings of the dead birds’ post mortem report which was conducted at the veterinary hospital.

“There was an announcement from our village gurdwara that all those who have got the wheat from the school must not use it immediately after the affected family members began vomiting and rushed to a local nursing home on Saturday night,” said village sarpanch Sukhjinder Singh, who sat amongst the mourners at the dwelling of Kulwant Ram, Jaswinder Kaur’s bereaved husband.

Kulwant Ram has now all hopes in his four children, who were now recovering at the GGS hospital in Faridkot, where they were shifted from the Fazilka civil hospital in a serious condition.

“Since there is no prima facie intention in the death of the two women, we have not lodged any complaint against any specific persons,” said Arniwala police station SHO Ranjit Singh.

The SDM had issued instructions no child would now be given food from the stock in question in that school till the probe was completed, he added.

The viscera of the two deceased women was sent to a forensic laboratory in Kharar, near Chandigarh, for further investigations, after they were declared dead due to food poisoning, the SDM told The Tribune.



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