Bihar tragedy: Post-mortem confirms insecticide in mid-day meal



Zee Media Bureau

Patna: Post-mortem reports on 23 children who died after eating a mid-day meal in Bihar confirmed that insecticide was either in the food or cooking oil, a doctor said on Thursday.

According to Patna Medical College hospital superintendent Amarkant Jha Amar, results of the chemical analysis of the ingredients found from the school were awaited.

One more child has died in the mid-day meal tragedy in Chapra taking the toll to 23 today, while 25 others, including 24 children and a cook, were under treatment in the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

The free mid-day meal was served to the children on Tuesday in Gandamal village in Masrakh block, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Patna, the Bihar state capital. The children, aged 5-12, got sick soon after eating rice, lentils, soya and potatoes, and soon 22 of them were dead and dozens were hospitalised.

The 25 children and the school cook still being treated in the hospital are unlikely to suffer from any serious aftereffects from the tainted food, Amar said, though four of the children were still in the intensive care unit.

"There will be no remnant effects on them. The effects of poisoning will be washed after a certain period of time from the tissues," Amar said.

On Wednesday, Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi said that a preliminary investigation suggested that the food served to the children contained an organophosphate used as an insecticide on rice and wheat crops.

Local villagers, however, have said the problem appeared to be with a side dish of soya and potatoes, not rice. Children who did not eat the side dish were fine, even though they had eaten the rice and lentils, several villagers said on Wednesday.

(With Agency inputs)