This Article is From Jul 20, 2013

Bihar mid-day meal tragedy: Traces of insecticide found in food sample, says forensic report

Patna: A forensic report on whether free lunch served to school children in Bihar's Chhapra on Tuesday was poisoned, today said that traces of insecticides were found in the food sample collected from the school.

"The report found Monocrotophos, an organophosphorous compound, in the samples of oil and the food sample that was collected. It was also observed from the data available in the FSL report that the peak area of the poisonous substance in the oil was more than five times in comparison to the commercial preparation used as a control. It is a matter of investigation that how it came into the food," said Ravinder Kumar, Additional Director General (ADG) of Police, Patna.

Monocrotophos is used as a pesticide for agricultural purposes. It is very toxic to human beings and other animals, he added.

More than 20 children died after consuming the mid-day meal. A report by the Bihar government said yesterday that there was widespread mismanagement among all those people involved in implementing the mid-day meal scheme.

The tragedy has left the village of Gandaman broken and furious, and triggered a national debate over the world's largest school feeding programme.

The principal of the school where the children died remains missing. She is guilty of criminal negligence, says the report prepared by local administrative and police officials in Chhapra.

The Union government is planning to set up a special committee that will to review the implementation of the mid-day meal programme and monitor the quality of food and the standards of hygiene.

India's free mid-day meal scheme, the largest free food programme in the world catering to around 120 million schoolchildren across the country, was introduced as an incentive for children to go to school.

But since Bihar's tragic deaths on Tuesday, more and more shockers are emerging from other parts of the country, forcing governments to order strict checks on hygiene standards. On Thursday, 170 children fell ill after lunch at a school in Neyveli, in Tamilnadu's Cuddalore district.