Nineteen children died and more fell ill on Tuesday after eating their midday meals at a primary school in Bihar. The midday meal scheme was passed by the Supreme Court in 2001 which was implemented much later after Samaritans, activists and NGOs pushed it.
This kind of negligence doesn’t even demand an explanation. The state education minister said, “A preliminary inquiry suggests the food had traces of phosphorous, which is used to preserve rice and wheat. As malnutrition is a major health concern among Indian children, midday meals are provided all over India not to mention the conditions of the meals. One reason came out for this accident was the cooking oil which was stored in a container formerly used for insecticides.
Because of other government programs this one is too weighed down by corruptive forces and no such checks and balances are observed regularly.
Just after this report, on Wednesday, 50 children of a school in the nearby Madhubani District were reported falling ill after eating a school lunch that allegedly had a dead lizard. Though all were sent home from a nearby clinic after a few hours of observation, said Lokesh Kumar Singh, the chief civil servant of the district.
This lack of responsibility has taken some very innocent lives. Can their own children ever take that kind of food served which has no efficient and clean process. The despair of the parents can never be imagined let alone the media making them recount the tales again and again.
“It was poison that the children ate, not food. Food contamination doesn’t happen that fast. It was poison.” Akilanand Mishra, the father of Ashish Kumar Mishra, 5.
On the other hand, those responsible for such an inefficiency escape by saying that, “It is a very daunting task to provide freshly cooked quality meals in 73,000 schools”. This was a statement of P. K. Shahi, minister of human resource development in Bihar. “Many are involved in managing the food programs, including teachers, village elders and state officials” he further said.
“All these people look for easy money, and there is very little scope of making money without compromising the quality and quantity,” Mr. Shahi said. “It is just not possible to taste meals in all the 73,000 schools before children eat the food.”
Is this enough to explain the society? Trust is betrayed only because the parents cannot afford lunch for the children. The meaning of democracy is laid shattered with those buried. How can justice ever be given to them? According to the government, they’ll come up with compensation in a day or two to let the heat off this matter.
Politics just took another ugly turn.