Zee Media Bureau
Patna: As the 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 21 on Wednesday, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party 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 CM".
Meanwhile, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the spokesperson of the party that shared power with the ruling Janata Dal-United for 17 years, said: "Instead of showing promptness in evacuating the children to a better medical facility, the Chief Minister of Bihar has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh for kin of children who died after having a mid-day meal. This shows his insensitivity and callous attitude."
"Most of the children died as treatment was not up to the mark. Better medical facility and right treatment could have saved many children," he told a TV news channel here.
Calling the incident as "extremely unfortunate", BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said the Bihar "CM should visit the children, it is his duty".
Hussain further said that the Bihar CM should conduct an inquiry into the incident and fix accountability.
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.
More than 60 children fell ill too.
Over two dozen sick children have been brought to the Patna Medical College and Hospital after their condition deteriorated."Some ten children are still critical," a hospital official said.
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.
In Bihar, widespread corruption is reported in the mid-day meal scheme and government guidelines on food quality are ignored.
In past, dead lizards, frogs, insects and a rat were found in the food cooked for the mid-day meal, angering students and parents.
(With IANS inputs)