Tinsukia: Over 82 students of Baruahola high school in Assam’s Tinsukia district fell ill allegedly after consuming midday meal on Friday.
The incidents comes on a day when two schools — Panitola Girls’ High School and Dinjan TE LP School — submitted written complaints to district elementary education officer (DEEO) and district mission co-ordinator (DMC) of midday meal scheme complaining about the poor quality of food provided by the assigned NGO.
According to sources, out of the students who fell ill, four have been admitted to the civil hospital in Tinsukia. “The students have complained of stomach ache, dysentery and vomiting,” the source said, adding that the students were complaining that the midday meal served to them was “smelling”.
Ghanshyam Seva Samity, an NGO, has been entrusted to supply midday meal in Tinsukia district.
On the other hand, several schools in Assam’s Tinsukia district have complained about bad quality food — with “sour” taste and “smell” — being served by the centralised kitchen. Two schools have also made a written complaint about the same.
Confirming the letter written to the DEEO cum DMC, headmistress of Panitola Girls’ High School Paranjita Das said, the students have refused to eat food, under the flagship midday meal scheme. The “dal” provided was “sour” and was “smelling”, Das said, adding, “However, students haven’t revealed the reason for not eating midday meal despite repeated efforts.”
When contact, DEEO and DMC Binty Sarma said, there are official procedures, hence, she cannot comment on the developments. She neither confirmed, nor denied reports of written complaints submitted to her office.
However, EastMojo has not just secured copy of the complaints written by two schools, but also the copy of report, based on the complaints, sent to mission director of Sarba Shiksha Abhijan (SSA) in Guwahati.
According to her report titled, “Complaints against NGO”, Sarma has mentioned that as per complains received from many schools, the food served through centralised kitchen by NGO was smelling very bad.
“In some schools, students have fallen sick after having the MDM [midday meal]. One such school is Baruahola High School in Panitola,” point number 2 of the report read.
Sarma told EastMojo that she cannot confirm the exact number of students who have fallen ill today as she is yet to receive the report.
On November 7, EastMojo released a story on a Facebook Live by a youth of Assam “exposing” poor quality of midday meal served to students in Paltan Bazar ME school in the neighboring Dibrugarh district.