9 children die after midday meal in Bihar

Pat

At least nine children between the ages of 6 and 10 died and 38 took ill after eating the midday meal at a government primary school in Bihar's Chhapra district on Tuesday. Unconfirmed reports put the toll at 11.

The incident took place at the Dandaman school under Jajuli panchayat in Masrakh area. According to reports, the students were given rice, dal and soyabean for lunch. About half an hour later, they started complaining of nausea. They were first taken to the local dispensary, after which they were shifted to the Sadar Hospital, Chhapra. Some children were later taken to Patna Medical College and Hospital.

Doctors said the children died of "food poisoning because of use of contaminated oil".

"Children who did not eat soyabean are not ill. There seems to be a problem with the oil used to cook the soyabean," said Dr Chandrashekhar Singh of the Chhapra hospital.

Chhapra district magistrate Abhijeet Sinha said food samples have been sent for examination. The government has ordered a high-level inquiry and announced a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh for the families of each of the victims.

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