Patna: Expressing concern over reports of several students getting ill after drinking contaminated water in their schools, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said the School Education Committees (SECs) and Chowkidars have been asked to be vigilant against "poisoning of handpumps".
The SECs and Chowkidars have been directed to remain vigilant against poisoning of handpumps in school premises and villages by miscreants and anti-social elements, he told reporters in reply to a question.
The SECs have been asked to take special precaution for storage of foodgrains and raw materials used for cooking mid-day meals in the schools to prevent adulteration by anyone, Kumar said.
People too should remain alert all the time to prevent poisoning of handpumps and contamination of water to prevent an untoward incident, the Chief Minister said.
On asked whether there was a pattern in poisoning of handpumps in schools spread over several districts of Bihar soon after the occurrence of the mid-day meal tragedy in in Saran district on July 16 in which 23 students died, he said that it was too early to reach to such a conclusion, but if a pattern is established during probe then the report will be shared with all, including media.
Kumar said that a detailed probe was going into entire sequence of events related to illness of school children due to drinking of contaminated water from handpumps in all incidents that have been reported till date.
All of us should be patient to find out a pattern, if any, in poisoning of handpumps in schools during the ongoing probe, Kumar said, adding that the publicity wings of the state government too have been activated to collate informations about all incidents of handpumps poisoning, illness of the students and their treatment at various hospitals for carrying out a detailed study in this regard.
Hundreds of school children have been taken ill after drinking water from handpumps which were suspected to have been poisoned by miscreants and anti-social elements to create panic in the society with the ruling JD(U) sources alleging that the incidents were carried out at the instance of its rivals for political mileage.