New Delhi: There would have been fewer casualties in the Bihar mid-day meal tragedy had the children taken to hospital on time and provided proper treatment, an HRD Ministry report has said as it blamed the school principal for ignoring the children`s complaint about the food served.
The report, which was submitted by Additional Secretary to the Ministry Amarjit Singh yesterday, said the principal had "disappeared" from the scene as the incident unfolded and there was little help from anyone to rush the children to the healthcare centre.
An FIR has already been lodged against the principal under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Twenty-three children died after the meal at a government school in Saran district on July 16.
Sources said the report also dwelt on the issue of having the school in close proximity to another established primary school.
The children fell ill within minutes of eating a meal of rice and potato curry in their one-room school, vomiting and convulsing with agonising stomach cramps, the report is believed to have said.
The probe report of Commissioner (Saran) and Deputy Inspector General of Police (Saran range) Binod Kumar submitted to the state government has also blamed the principal for the tragedy.
Confirming the presence of poisonous pesticides in the meal, Forensic Science Laboratory said the contaminated food contained monocrotophos, an organophosphate insecticide, after experts examined samples of oil from the container, food remains on the platter and remains in the utensils.
Meanwhile, sources said the composition of the new quality monitoring committee to be headed by HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju is yet to the finalised.
School education secretary would be doing video conferencing with state secretaries tomorrow to review the implementation of the scheme especially about measures to ensure that quality food is served to students and prepared in a clean place.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad is expected to meet Raju here on July 25.