Another accident in midday meal; boy critical

No lessons have been learnt from the death of the Class III girl who succumbed to burn injures after falling into hot dal in her school in Sambalpur district on last Saturday. Within days of the tragic incident, a Class II boy sustained severe burn injuries after falling into boiling rice cooked for midday meal (MDM) in Balangir on Thursday afternoon.

The incident happened at Sihini High School near Titilagarh around 2 pm when the students were playing on the school premises. The boy, identified as Rahul Chhattar, was first taken to Titilagarh sub-divisional hospital with 40% burn injuries. He was later shifted to Balangir district headquarters hospital as his condition worsened.

Titilagarh block development officer (BDO) Md Ishaq said the condition of the boy was critical. “We are bearing all his medical expenses. At the time of incident, the headmaster of the school was absent. Disciplinary action will be initiated against him if he is found guilty of neglecting his duties. The school does not have a proper kitchen. Midday meal is cooked at a make-shift shed,” the BDO added.

Recently, school and mass education minister Rabi Narayan Nanda told the assembly that over 10,930 schools didn’t have kitchen sheds to cook MDM. “The incident is unfortunate. Whosoever is guilty will be taken to task,” the minister said on Thursday.

Titilagarh Congress legislator Surendra Singhbhoi blamed the state government for “failing to monitor the implementation of the midday meal scheme properly.”

Earler this week, Class III student Banita Kanhar of a tribal residential school at Girischandrapur in Sambalpur died of burn injuries after she had fallen into a vessel of hot dal.

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