Zee Media Bureau
Patna: The Bihar government has constituted an eight-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the mid-day meal tragedy that claimed the lives of 23 children in the Chhapra district of the state last week.
Reports on Tuesday said that the SIT, headed by the Chappra Superintendent of Police, will submit its report to the state government.
Last week, many children fell ill within minutes of eating an infected meal of rice and potato curry in their one-room school in Chhapra. They were vomiting and convulsing with stomach cramps - symptoms that experts say would be common in poisoning with such a toxic chemical.
The lunch was part of Mid-Day Meal Scheme, which aims to tackle malnutrition and encourage 120 million poor children to attend school. It had already drawn widespread complaints over food safety.
An initial forensic investigation found the Bihar children`s meal had been prepared with cooking oil that contained monocrotophos - a substance that belongs to a family of chemicals called organophosphates that share a common mechanism of toxic action.
Twenty three children lost their lives after eating the infected mid-day meal served to them. Blood samples of four children, who are still in critical condition, were sent to Mumbai in order to carry forward the investigations.
Serum tests on blood samples indicated `acute poisoning` due to presence of highly toxic substance in the mid-meal meal served to students in Chhapra.
With Agency inputs