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74 students hospitalised after consuming food at Sangrur meritorious school; contractor arrested

The police have registered an FIR against the erring contractor, while the Education Minister has ordered a probe after over 100 students fell ill and 74 of them were rushed to various hospitals after having food at Government Meritorious School, Ghabdan.

The school principal has been suspended and the erring contractor arrested. The minister has warned of strict action against officials found negligent in the case.

According to information collected by The Tribune, over 800 students reside in the school and over 100 complained of uneasiness, vomiting and food poisoning after eating food late last night.

Eighteen students were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sangrur, last night. Out of them, 14 returned home after treatment. Today, 36 more students were admitted to the Civil Hospital and 20 were admitted to the PGI Centre there. The condition of the students was stated to be stable.

“No student faced problems like diarrhoea or vomiting in the hospital. The students, however, claimed that they had faced these problems after having food in the school,” said Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Jorwal. Two doctors, 14 paramedical staffers and two ambulances had been deployed at the school as a precautionary measure by the district administration, he added.

Students alleged that despite their repeated reminders to the school authorities, the food quality had been deteriorating since Diwali and many students had stopped having meals prepared in the school hostel. “The food quality was not good. On Friday, when we returned to our rooms after having dinner, we felt uneasy and many of us had bouts of vomiting, besides stomach ache,” students said.

Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains visited the Civil Hospital, Sangrur, and took stock of the health condition of the students and assured them of strict action against those responsible for the incident.

In future, feedback would be taken from the students of all meritorious schools every month. He said he would himself read the feedback forms and appropriate action would be taken based on those inputs.

“The requisite forms have been sent to all meritorious schools in the state. The contract with this contractor at Ghabdan was signed in February this year. Students said there was a decline in the food quality after Diwali, about which they had informed the school management, but the situation did not improve,” he said.

“Appropriate action will be taken against those who did not take the complaint of the students seriously. The principal has been suspended with immediate effect. A four-member SIT formed by the district administration will submit its report to me within a week,” he added.

Meanwhile, samples of the food material being used in all meritorious schools have been sent for testing.

SIT report within a week: Minister

Appropriate action will be taken against those who did not take the complaint of the students seriously. The principal has been suspended with immediate effect. A four-member SIT formed by the district administration will submit its report to me within a week. — Harjot Singh Bains, Education Minister

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