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Bihar mid-day meal horror: Toll mounts to 22 in Chhapra, 15 faint in Madhubani

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 - 8:58am IST Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 - 4:49pm IST | Place: Patna | Agency: dna webdesk

Nitish Kumar expressed shock over the incident and announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh to the kin of each of the dead school children.

Death toll of children who fell ill after having mid-day meal at a state-run primary school in Bihar's Saran district, rose to 22 on Wednesday.

Confirming the deaths, Principal Secretary, education, Amarjeet Sinha said that he suspected the deaths occurred by organo phosphorous poisoning caused due to traces of insecticides.

In past, dead lizards, frogs, insects and a rat were found in the food cooked for the mid-day meal, angering students and parents.

Latest developments on this big story:

* In a recent development, 15 children have fainted after comsuming mid-day meal in Madhubani.

* HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju on Wednesday said the incident looked like a case of contaminated food and asked states to exercise caution while implementing the scheme. "I came to know about the sad incident where 20 have died. I have taken serious note of it. Our additional secretary has rushed to the spot to have a first hand report. It looks like a case of contamination of food but we are awaiting forensic report," Raju said.

* The government is awaiting the forensic report to know the reason why "food was contaminated", said Minister for Human Resource Development M.M. Pallam Raju here.

* With the death of one more child, the toll due to consumption of spurious midday meal at a government primary school in Bihar's Saran district rose to 22 today. While 16 children, aged below 10 years and studying in Class I to V, had died in Chhapra itself, four others were declared dead on arrival at Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) late last night

* 12 dead children were buried near the school - two of them in front of the school building.

* The woman who cooked the meal and her children have also died.

* A preliminary investigation suggests the food had traces of an organo-phosphate used as an insecticide on rice and wheat crops. It’s believed the food was not washed before it was served at the school.

* Eleven more children who ate mid-day meal at their school in Bihar's Saran district died overnight, pushing up the toll to 21. Ten more children are battling for their lives, officials said, as the tragedy triggered protests.

* Bharatiya Janata Party has called Nitish Kumar an "insensitive Chief Minister". BJP leader Giriraj Singh pointed out that Nitish Kumar "didn't even come to visit these children. He is an insensitive Chief Minister". Terming the incident as extremely unfortunate, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the Bihar Chief Minister should visit the children. “This is extremely unfortunate. The Chief Minister should visit the children. It’s his duty. He should conduct an inquiry into the incident and fix accountability,” Hussain added.

* Violent protests have erupted in Chhapra. People armed with sticks and rods set blaze a bus and damaged public property.

* 27 children are undergoing treatment at Patna Medical College And Hospital. They are admitted to hospital after consuming mid-day meal served to them at a government primary school in Dahrmasati village at Mashrakh block, about 25 Kms from Chhapra.

* Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also announced a compensation of two lakh rupees each to the families of the deceased. Union Human Resource Development Ministry has sent a senior official to Chhapra to take stock of the situation.

WATCH: Chhapra: Protests after children die of food poisoning

* PK Sahi, the state education minister, said a preliminary investigation suggests the food had traces of phosphorous, which is used to preserve rice and wheat.

* RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav who represents Chhapra Parliamentary Constituency, said: “it is shameful that rotten food was served to children. There is no responsible governance in Bihar anymore”

* "We had information of various complaints on the mid-day meal scheme in Bihar. We couldn't even think that children will die in such a way. This is a tragic incident. The Bihar government must take a note of it and take stringent action against the guilty," said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain.

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