Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi/Patna: The forensic report on Bihar mid-day meal deaths is expected to be out on Friday even as the toll climbed to 23.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development M M Pallam Raju said the Centre is awaiting the forensic report to know the reason why "food was contaminated" causing deaths in a school in Bihar`s Saran district.
Children in many other schools in the state have, meanwhile, as per reports, refused to eat the food provided as part of mid-day meals, saying their parents had asked them to stay away from such meals.
Police have yet to make any arrests in the case as the headmistress of the Chhapra school, Meena Devi, who has been named in the FIR, is on the run.
Jolted by the tragedy, the Bihar government is set to issue stringent instructions for quality check and improving infrastructural facilities.
“The notice for strict quality check of food served under mid-day meal scheme in schools across Bihar will be issued,” R Lakshamanan, director, mid-day meal programme, said.
He said inquiries into the Saran tragedy have revealed that standing orders like quality check of food and its maintenance by teachers and cooks were not observed in the Dharmasati Gandavan Primary School.
Lakshamanan said notwithstanding the ‘mishap’ at Chhapra and another at Madhubani on Wednesday in which 50 children fell ill, the mid-day meal scheme is continuing in other schools but with extra precaution.
He, however, admitted that in many schools children are refusing to take food packets provided to them under the programme.
The mid-day meal scheme, a flagship programme of the Central government, covers 70,000 schools of the state providing food to 1.25 crore children.
(With agency inputs)