177 students fall ill after taking vitamin tablets in Odisha

At least 177 students of a school at Chilika-Nuapada in Puri district fell ill on Tuesday after taking vitamin tablets supplied by the state government as part of a nutrition programme, prompting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to order a probe.

Altogether 300 students of Upgraded Middle English were given the pills as part of the state government's supplementary nutrition programme, but 177 of them developed symptoms of nausea, vomiting and stomach pain, District Collector Naba Kumar Nayak said.

All the 117 students were admitted to the district headquarters hospital here and their condition is improving, he said. The district administration has directed headmasters of all schools to stop the supply of the pills to the students forthwith, Nayak said.

The district administration was supplying the vitamin pills to all schools as part of a drive to check iron deficiency among students, he said.

As many as 17 schools in the Krushna Prasad police station area were supplied the pills, but the problem occurred in only this school, he said. Expressing anguish over the incident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed the district collector to inquire the incident and provide medical care to the affected students. Meanwhile, tension prevailed in the area as irate parents staged a demonstration, demanding action against teachers of the school.

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